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Struggling with the Tension

Posted by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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Ok, So as I mentioned in my introduction, there is a lot of recent tension between BM and myself. DSD comes to our house and tells us she doesn't want to go back to her mom's house, and that she is having such a good time here. She tells us that mom just lays around and they don't do anything together, that she has to get herself up and ready for school (and has been saying this since kindergarten, age 5). DSD is dirty when we pick her up, and ALWAYS smells like smoke. BM will txt for my husband to pick DSD up, when her (BM's) boyfriend (of 3 years...on and off) dumps here and she is an emotional wreck. She stated that she didn't have much money, so I suggested that a fast food resturaunt was hiring. She flew off the handle and I am no longer allowed (per BM) set food on the apartment complex property, let alone pick DSD up, this makes it hard as we live 1.5 hrs away and my hubs works 2nd shift m-f. SO I could pick her up friday after work, but her mom will not allow it. Now the DSD is going to BM and saying that I am saying things that I have not said to my recolection, and if I had, it was only as an example, as I am a responsible/functional ADULT and I don't call people names, or pick on people for things that they can not change. SO anyway. How do I handle this, and is there someone or someplace I can go to talk to someone about how I'm feeling and what I should do? I expressed that my husband and I should get an attorney and have everything set up via the courts so BM can't with hold DSD from him. Please HELP!!

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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by Platinum Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM
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How old is the child?  I am thinking she sees the tension between the adults and will play off it to what she thinks is her advantage.  Need to talk to your husband about how he wants to approach the situation.

by Gold Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:26 AM
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I really think your husband should be dealing with the child's mother instead of you.  Is there a way you can get from the middle of that?

It's not easy to be in that situation.  I hope you all can find some peace for the child's sake.

Good luck!

by Platinum Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:31 AM

 If you don't have a court mandated  visitation schedule, then she can do whatever she wants. Has your dh thought about the possibility of her taking off with a boyfriend and leaving the state? She can do that if there's no legal agreement in place. Sounds like you need to get a lawyer. And let him deal with her. This is hard on everyone. It would be good if you could get some counseling. Many churches offer it, not just to their members, but to the community. And they don't dwell on religion, just on helping you with your situation.

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:46 AM

This is a situation that your husband has to handle and not you, all you can do is offer moral support and encouragement, he has to be the one to hire the lawyer and go to court if it comes to that. In meantime like the previous poster stated you can go and get counseling at churches, community organizations etc, and like the previous poster stated it's offered to everyone and not members of the church. they will not talk down to you but this will give you a chance to vent and they can offer you some help on how best to handle this situation. In the meantime, whenever the child is in your presence, be careful what you say in front of her, and don't say anything about the situation with her mother. She very well could be carrying back to her mother anything that is said in front of her about it and you know children will and can repeat things not mean't in a way to cause problems but it does happen. The most important thing is, let her dad handle anything pertaining to custody and visitation that's his responsibility. 

by Ivy on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM

 Kids play off each other.  Just as she's telling you things, she's probably telling her mom things.  I can't imagine how difficult of a situation it must be, but in this case, your husband is the one who needs to deal with his ex, not you.  By saying things, by offering job suggestions - although you're well meaning - is going to come off wrong just because it's you who said it.  I'd suggest family counseling if possible, so you can figure out what you need to do, as well as what are those lines you shouldn't be crossing.  Good luck

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:21 AM
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It sounds like you have several different issues to deal with:

1) visitation schedule

2) birth mother

3) the child becoming manipulative

4) how YOU feel about all this

The visitation schedule should be settled by the court.  Get an attourney. Is there a chance you and your husband could get custody of the child? If the BM is so lazy, it may not be a safe place for the child to grow up.  Husbands are getting custody more and more - it is not necessarily automatically granted to the mother.  If the tables were reversed - if the child LIVED with you, and visited the mother, it would be her responsibility to pick up and return the child on weekends.  But even if the child stays with the BM and visits you on weekends, the court can determine when, who, and how this takes place.  Then it is not something the BM can hold over you or threated.

The BM sounds like a real loser, but it is in the best interest of the CHILD if everyone can treat one another with respect.  Do not get into an argument with the BM about the child.  You'll have to be the grownup, since it sounds like the BM isn't.  Never tell the child her BM is a bum.  Don't make the child chose between you or her.  Forgive the BM when she's behaving badly.  Apologize when she thinks you've slighted her.  You can "kill her with kindness".  It may frustrate the heck out of the BM, but you'll be a shining example to the child!  And one day, the child may come to realize that you are the better person, and she may come to you with her problems, hopes and dreams, rather than the bum on the couch with the cigarette.

Don't let the child play the "he said/she said" game.  This gives the child too much power, and she starts to bribe parents, to her own detriment.  She might say things like "my mom lets me stay up late" or tell her mom, "my step mom lets me wear make up"... you get the picture?  You can calmly tell the child, "in this house, we don't wear make up before we are sixteen" and stress that the rules are part of YOUR house, and it doesn't matter what the rules are at her mom's house.  

As for how you feel - you have a right to your emotions! You do sound stressed.  It's fine for the other posters to say that this is between your husband and his ex-wife, but whatever goes on in his life affects you and your marriage!  You cannot change his ex-wife, though.  You can only change how you deal with her.  And if you need help in changing that, there are counselors that specialize in these situations.  Try Catholic Family Services - they are around in most cities, and may charge a sliding fee based on income.  Or there may be counseling services available through your health insurance.  Many health insurance companies have learned that when we are emotionally happy, our health is better!  Find out what is available, and get the help you need.  Talking with a councelor can help you be calmer, happier, more in control of your life, so you don't become overwhelmed.  

Take care, and best of luck!

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Your DSD could be twisting the situation to her advantage. Kids are crafty like that. I do think you should set up some sort of custody agreement so that BM can't run off with the little girl like pp suggested. I think you should also let your hubby deal with DSD's mother. Usually, women don't react very well when 'the new woman' attempts to step in, especially when a child is involved. Your hubby and her are no longer together but she is probably still very territorial of him and their daughter. Just how us women are sometimes. (;

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:30 AM
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you need to take yourself out of the entire situation.  Don't give BM any advice about how to live her life and try to avoid making comments about BM in front of the kids, even if you are just talking to your hubby.  I do understand your concern about your SD and wanting the best for her, but there are some things you have no control over.  I'm sure the CO has been in place long before you came around and the courts are not likely to change it, especially if BM doesn't want it changed.  Also, BM isn't withholding SD from DH, she is withholding her from you.

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM
It can so challenging to blend a family when all parties involved are on different pages. You should speak with your husband and seek legal counsel. There isn't much you can really do except be a source of strength and encouragement for dh and dsd. You may need to curtail all conversations regarding the BM around the child. She is the child and should not be in the middle even though your intentions may be good. Let her enjoy her time with Dad and do your part to be a positive female role model that's all you can do at this point.
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by Bronze Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Quoting first.time.mama:

SO anyway. How do I handle this, and is there someone or someplace I can go to talk to someone about how I'm feeling and what I should do? I expressed that my husband and I should get an attorney and have everything set up via the courts so BM can't with hold DSD from him. Please HELP!!

The FIRST person you should talk to about how you are feeling, and what you should be doing, is your HUSBAND.

Kids in a split family will often act out. They will tell lies, and be manipulative. It sounds like that is what your SD has been doing to both sides (BM, and you/husband) from the very beginning.

While talking to your husband about your feelings, and the problems with his daughter, and his ex, I suggest you include the following -

1) Taking his ex to court to formalize custody, child support, and visitation. Perhaps he might want to try for full custody.

2) Going to family counseling. A good counselor can help you, and your husband, learn how to work together better as a family, be better parents, and learn how to deal with the stress of divorce. The counselor can also help SD deal with the things that have happened, and are happening, in her life. 

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