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Thread: StepHell

  1. #1

    StepHell

    Greetings,

    This is my first time on this board, so I'll try to explain in as much detail/as objectively as I can my particular situation. I have read several step-parenting articles and have found that most of the information does not apply to me. I cannot convey the nature of my issues in summary form, so please skip this if you are not into long-winded posts.

    I met my wife 5 years ago. We hit it off rather well from the start and married after 4 months. Everything seemed perfect. She, at the time, was living with her parents. She had 3 boys aged 2, 9 and 12 who are now 7, 14 and 17. My daughter was 1 and is now 6. Her mother and I were never married, but we were very good friends and still talk as such whenever I pick up my daughter. My wife had been divorced for about a year after 9 years of marriage. The oldest was the result of a teen pregnancy causing her to quit high school her senior year. Her first marriage ended with her husband killing himself. Her second marriage ended in her husband committing adultery (though she claims to have never really loved him). When we decided to get married, she told me "I could really use some help raising my boys". I loved her and felt up to the task. Little did I know...

    She is in property manager, and I am a network architect, so our combined income affords us opportunities to provide well for the children. No to the issues.

    Shortly after we married, I began to notice that she really wasn't into disciplining her children. I tried to stay back and let her do it because they were her children and I was just some new guy that lived with them. Their poor behavior went on a few weeks before I finally got onto one of them for throwing a ball and putting a hole in the wall of our brand new home. She looked at me like "who the hell do you think YOU are?". She didn't speak to me for a week. This set the stage for what has been going on for the past 4.5 years.

    After the week of silence, I approached her and said that we needed to lay some ground rules for how things will operate in our home. She told me that WE would be doing no such thing. Those were HER children. The words "I could really use some help raising my boys" echoed in my head. I just didn't understand.

    99% of the conflicts we have had since we've been married have been over her lack of parenting of her children. She's great at mothering them. I won't fault her there, but she doesn't parent them. Since then, the "HELP" that was required of me has been to take them everywhere (I work from home), cook for them, pay for stuff that they didn't earn, fix and/or replace stuff in the house that they have stolen or destroyed, etc. I have a 5 bedroom home that I couldn't sell if I wanted to because of all the damage they have inflicted on it. I know "boys will be boys" but there is such a thing as excessive. ALL of their rooms have holes in the sheet rock, one of them even has knives and screw drivers sticking out of the walls as well as a poster that promotes drug use. I once took the poster down and she got mad at me. Just for the record, when she gets mad at me for trying to do the right thing, the silence lasts, at a minimum, 3 days and goes on as long as 2 weeks.

    The boys are foul-mouthed (even the 7 year old uses the F word and shoots the finger!), messy and completely disrespectful. They are not required to do any chores, yet she dispenses money to them as if it were candy. This usually brews for a few months until I finally can't take it anymore and I explode. Not violently, but verbally. I ask why she is incapable of actually parenting her children. This starts the fight and we both throw accusations back and forth. I try to make it a point not to do it in front of the children, but she doesn't care.

    I really hate having my daughter over here every other weekend, because I don't want the behavior to rub off onto her. I have her clean up after herself when she's here. I'm afraid that eventually, she'll resent that because she has to do it and they don't.

    I'm not as involved in my daughter's life as I would like to be. I don't even call until it's time to make arrangements to pick her up, simply because my wife feels that if I'm talking to her mother that I MUST be having an affair with her. Yet, her ex-husband calls her EVERY day.

    Let me explain something here. I am a strong man (physically and mentally) and I would have never put up with this with any other woman. I was single for a LONG time. Usually, at the first sign of a woman trying to impose her will upon me, I'd say "see ya". Why can't I do that now (other than the financial implications)? Why do I love someone who does this to me? Love is the only explanation I can come up with.

    There's more to this, but these are the major issues. In the past years since we've married, she has become violent 4 times and, instead of fighting back, I've simply left and called the police to come control the situation. Not because I'm a sissy, but because I'm a man of logic who knows that if a man fights back with a violent woman, he will go to jail. This is Texas and that's just the way it is.

    This year, the 17 year old has been to court 6 times and will be going to number 7 this friday. Charges range from truancy to theft to, now, criminal trespass. He's lucky he hasn't been caught for drugs--yet. I have confiscated 3 water pipes, a smaller pipe, rolling papers, a baggie of ecstasy, 2 baggies of marijuana and a rolling device. She refuses to do anything. I don't talk about it or even involve myself. She tries to complain to me and cry "why did he do this". Certainly, she's not looking for the truth. I'm not going to tell her what she wants to hear if I open my mouth.

    If ANYONE has any suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm about to just take a day off, grab a trailer while everyone's gone, load up and leave. To me, this is just not worth it anymore.

    67Hoss

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  3. #2

    StepHell

    This is my first week back at work after taking about 10 days off, so it's going to be more than a little hectic. I only have a moment this morning but I'll try to reply later on.

    I must say that the first thing that comes to mind is that this isn't fundamentally a parenting or even step-parenting issue (although those are there in the picture too of course): This is a couples/relationship issue.

    Have you ever considered or talked about couples counselling? It seems to me that would be the obvious starting point because until the two of you can find a way to communicate more efcetively and then start working as a team instead of adversaies I don't see all this changing any tiome soon.

  4. #3

    StepHell

    I have suggested counseling on several occasions to no avail. It's almost as if she's saying "my way or the highway". The highway looks pretty good at this point.

  5. #4

    StepHell

    Hmmm... well I have to say, I might be taking a very close look at the highway myself.

    You're in a relationship with obviously fundamental differences in your approach to parenting as well, as it would seem, some other fundamental values; your spouse refuses to seek compromise or negotiation; you appear to have some serious communication and conflict resolution issues; you are living with domestic violence; and she refuses to even consider couples counselling.

    I suggest you very seriously consider the answers to these questions: Why are you with this woman? What are you getting out of the relationship? And what are you giving up to stay in it?

    Then ask her again to come with you to see a marriage counsellor and let her know this is a make-or-break issue for you in the marriage. If she says no again, take another long look at that highway.

  6. #5

    StepHell

    Hi 67Hoss :)

    I'd leave myself if I were in that situation and all attempts to
    'work together" doesn't work.

    I also shudder at the idea of spending the next years,
    and exposing my OWN kid to patterns of behaviors
    of the lifestyle at home and kids you live with ...
    their patterns are "long-set" and "long-run"

    Can you afford costs on you and your own kid to
    continue AS IS? If wife changes ... the kids may not
    (probably will not ... the patterns and scenarios are
    on a roll? They'll continue to roll?)

    Love is awsome ... but to get it at the cost of survival needs
    for wellbeing of yourself and your kid?

    Go for the wellbeing, lose the "love" ... IF you know in your own
    head and heart that there is no room to "make it better together"

    This is so hard ... I feel for your situation and how torn you must feel :(
    Its a huge decision you're faced with... I wish you clear-seeing and thinking.

    Take care ... Kanadiana
    Hugs from Kanadiana ...

  7. #6

    StepHell

    Hoss, I'm sorry to hear that you're stuck in this situation. I understand that you love this woman and that you want to do all that you can to save the relationship. That is very admirable. However, you simply must take your well-being (and that of your child) into consideration. I will remind you that you cannot be responsible for other people's happiness and you certainly cannot change someone who doesn't wish to change. When the bad outweighs the good, you need to think long and hard about what you need to do.

    Please keep in touch.

  8. #7

    StepHell

    Thank you all so much for the responses, so far. I've been doing alot of menial type chores (powerwashing fences/driveway, etc.) here lately to give myself time to think about everything.

    I try to answer the questions that Dr. Baxter told me to answer.

    Why are you with this woman?

    I can't come up with a valid answer, so I default to love.

    What are you getting out of the relationship?

    Bad credit, anxiety, homeowners association warnings/lawsuit threats, disrespectful children, home repair bills, an occasional sexual encounter.

    And what are you giving up to stay in it?

    Order, self-respect, financial stability, time to spend with my daughter whenever I want, time to visit my parents.

    I know what you're saying, Ash, about the well-being of my daughter. I think the biggest issue is that my wife equates my daughter with her mother. I'm treated even worse when she's here for the weekend. She also takes it out on her a bit. To be honest, my little girl's mother has been nothing but accomodating and has kept her distance. My wife just keeps on and on.

    Example: Things were going well for about a month into the marriage as far as my daughter coming over. Then, out of the blue, my wife wrote her a mean, threatening letter to her mother. Her response was to take me to court and sue for more child support. I blame my wife for that, but I gladly pay it knowing that my daughter is being better provided for.

    I'm babbling now and throwing things out there that are probably not important at this point. I admit that I'm no angel. When she starts a fight over these things, I used to play dirty and fought to win. My words, when I'm attacked, tend to be a bit pointed and demeaning. I know I'm wrong for that. Now, I simply maintain silence to keep the peace; until it builds up to much. It just frustrates me so that someone who knows the difference between right and wrong refuses to do the obvious. Maybe I just found the answer that I was looking for.

    67Hoss

  9. #8

    StepHell

    Quote Originally Posted by 67Hoss
    I know what you're saying, Ash, about the well-being of my daughter. I think the biggest issue is that my wife equates my daughter with her mother. I'm treated even worse when she's here for the weekend. She also takes it out on her a bit. To be honest, my little girl's mother has been nothing but accomodating and has kept her distance. My wife just keeps on and on.
    Would you mind explaining how your wife takes it out on your daughter? You can always tell me to mind my own business. :-)

    I'm glad that her mother has been so good about the situation! Are you able to talk to her about it?

    Please don't forget YOUR well-being. You won't be much good to anyone if you drive yourself over the edge.

    Example: Things were going well for about a month into the marriage as far as my daughter coming over. Then, out of the blue, my wife wrote her a mean, threatening letter to her mother. Her response was to take me to court and sue for more child support. I blame my wife for that, but I gladly pay it knowing that my daughter is being better provided for.
    It sounds as if your wife has some of her own issues to take care of. I can't say what her actions/reactions stem from but she doesn't seem extremely stable.

    I'm babbling now and throwing things out there that are probably not important at this point. I admit that I'm no angel. When she starts a fight over these things, I used to play dirty and fought to win. My words, when I'm attacked, tend to be a bit pointed and demeaning. I know I'm wrong for that. Now, I simply maintain silence to keep the peace; until it builds up to much. It just frustrates me so that someone who knows the difference between right and wrong refuses to do the obvious. Maybe I just found the answer that I was looking for.
    It's wonderful that you admit to being human. ;-) It's also wonderful that you are trying to be the best you can be and to grow as a person. You seem to have good insight and that's very important for you right now.

    My advice (for what it's worth) would be to look at the situation in a non-judgemental way. When I have issues to deal with, I ask myself "What would I tell a dear friend to do?" I think we could all do with following our own advice.

    I hate to see anyone feel as if they're stuck in "hell". I've been there myself. You need to know when to throw in the towel, though. If someone is not going to change, then the situation will never get better. There's only so much you can do.

    *hugs*

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