It is the most horrendously frustrating situation to be on the receiving end of this emotional paraphernalia. Having no one, especially my husband at times, to understand let alone believe that a child can be responsible for reducing me to a gibbering wreck. My week when his daughter is absent is calm and normal. I breath a sigh of relief when she leaves Sunday evening but the anticipation reaches it's crescendo Saturday afternoon while I count down the minutes till her imminent arrival.
The weekends that I no longer looked forward to are tainted with the arrival of my stepdaughter. On Fridays I generally feel flat and deflated when I should be feeling the exact opposite, looking forward to my husband at home with his family sharing the precious time together. I'm sure he looks to me to resolve the situation with his daughter, not because he expects me too, but because it upsets him and there is little he can do to change her behaviour apart from confronting her about it every weekend. They have been apart all week and the first thing he does is reprimand her for her behaviour the previous weekend. Would this add to her dislike of me? Surely daddy telling her off because of her behaviour will have the adverse effect adding to her dislike of me even more?
Rather than complying to what he has said, will it actually make the situation worse because daddy is in cahoots with Mrs Nasty? What annoys me the most is she can come into my home, treat me the way she does, and I am the one who is expected to take it but find myself making excuses trying to understand it! She has no idea how sympathetic and sad towards her I am but I'm sure to her, I am the enemy.
There are times I feel like crying and believe me there are times I feel crying is all I seem to do. I'm sure I've given the grieving mourners beneath Wailing Wall a run for their money! My husband asks what is wrong and I say there is nothing, everything is fine. But secretly I don't want to be in my own home during the weekend at all. On Saturday evenings while my husband collects his daughter, I disappear upstairs to my daughters bedroom and wait at the window. I see his car appear unfairly hoping my stepdaughter has decided not to come that will offer some relief for the coming weekend. But I am disappointed. My stepdaughter climbs out from the car and my stomach lurches. I have taken to hiding in my daughters bedroom with a glass of wine that allows time to compose myself, if not a little Dutch courage, and put on a strained but happy face.
I am angry my stepdaughter has taken away my dream of a happy family. I am angry when trying to arrange to see my son, find I am unable to do so due to her erratic visits. I am angry that we are expected to be available at the drop of a hat for a child who decides whether she wants to visit or not. Its hard keeping my head above water and with all these different emotions I have to deal with and accept, I feel like I am drowning!
Saturday 16 April 2006
Here we are again. Who’s calling the shots here, your ex wife or your daughter? I don’t know how much more ex wife/ daughter crap I can deal with. I’m expected to have a five year old talk to me like shit, ignore me when it suits, then decide how our weekend is going to run. Talk about feeling used! You say I compare the situation with my son all of the time. Yes I do because where my sons concerned, you voice your opinions and I live with it. You told me he wasn’t going to come to stay when arranging to meet friends, and use the house as a hotel. But where your daughter’s concerned, she can decide to come or not and we have to accommodate her at the drop of a hat.
I’m tired and have seen the side to you I don’t like. You say I am the important one, until it comes to your daughter. But I’ve known that from the start. All I get from you is “perhaps I’d like to see my daughter” well yes perhaps you would. Perhaps I’d like to see my son. But then I don’t have the luxury of weekend visits do I? And that looks like they may have to be re arranged to tie in with your daughter and the, will she come or won't she come. Perhaps I should arrange to go on my own and leave you and your daughter to your weekends. I’m tired of you saying you’re in the middle. I don’t put you there. We’re supposed to be a partnership, where my kids are concerned we are, where yours is, its down to you, I’m not allowed to have a say because we end up arguing. Your daughter is a touchy subject. I’ll learn to leave well alone or maybe just learn to leave.
I try to involve my stepdaughter, and make her feel as welcome as possible so she feels she belongs in our home. I want her to feel that it is her home too. So I have bought new bedding, toys and she has her own space, but she appreciates nothing I do. My husband has begun to bury his head in the sand. If he cant see a problem, it doesn't exist. But there is a problem, a bloody great big one! He has stopped asking me if everything is ok. Is this because he thinks it is, or because he refuses to believe that his daughter is capable of acting in this manner? Personally I believe he refuses to acknowledge what is really happening because when this issue was discussed before her change in behaviour, it was decided if it repeated itself, my husband would follow through his decision and temporarily stop her from coming. But as before, how can he go through with this?
Perhaps I could leave with my daughter and our child, but this will leave each of us with another loss. He will loose his wife and child, our child will loose her daddy and I will loose my wonderful husband, but if I stay and he makes the decision to stop my stepdaughter from visiting, albeit temporarily, he still looses a child. How can I expect my husband to make this choice? We find ourselves in an impossible no-win situation. It continues and as before, nothing is done.
So there really is no decision to make as I can never allow him to carry this through . What signals would this give to a young child? Yes, my life would be so much easier. No problems, but would a heap of new ones land on our doorstep? I suppose, yes they would, and my stepdaughter will grow up thinking her daddy never wanted her even if it was explained to her why. Both my husband and I know that this is not how it is. She is very wanted. She is part of my fantasy and most importantly, our family.
I don't think my stepdaughter has ever had her situation explained to her, she just had to accept it like most children. There have been many occasions I have tried to understand her behaviour towards me and have tried to gently coax out of her any worries she has. I explain things in a way she can hopefully understand by comparing friends at school, and the fallouts they may have, to the situation and her feelings towards me. I have called for the help of my Health Visitor and she has offered leaflets to colour in with stories about families splitting up and what happens to the children, hoping it will give an any kind of hint to how she is feeling. "Draw your family" the leaflet asked, so she did. Daddy, me, herself, my daughter and our baby daughter.
Again I am confused, is she responding how she thinks I want her too, or is she showing her true feelings? She did tell her daddy that she didn't like me and she didn't like mummy's partner, not as people just her innocent understanding that we were in the way of mummy and daddy getting back together. My husband explained that this was never going to happen but it didn't mean her mummy and daddy loved her any the less just because they weren't living together. It is quite normal for a child to want their parents back together. When my ex husband and I decided to separate we spoke to the children together reassuring them we both loved them very much and this would never change. The big change was not living together as a family.
Her own mother seems to pass her daughter from pillar to post. Christmas 2005 we were excited my stepdaughter, alongside my son, was able to spend Christmas eve with us. My husband then arranged to drop her back to her mothers house Christmas day lunch time, this way, both parents could spend this special day with their child. and vive-versa. My husbands ex wife had said it was ok for him to drop their daughter home at the normal time of 6.30pm, but my husband was trying to do the best for his daughter and consider she may want to spend some part of Christmas Day with her mother, so it was agreed that he take her home before lunch.
The following week, my husband called his ex wife arranging to collect his daughter on Thursday instead of Saturday, giving him and his daughter a longer weekend together. His ex wife told him it wouldn't be a problem but their daughter was at his mother's house and she wouldn't be collecting her till late Thursday evening. Consequently my husband settled for collecting her Friday. It transpired, on my stepdaughters return home Christmas day lunch time, she spent the rest of the day with her mum, the following morning at her Grandmother, my husband's ex mother-in-law, before being collected by my husbands mother and whisked off to her house to stay the rest of the week. Where was the time to be with her own mother, in her own home to play with all the new presents she had received? So over the whole Christmas period, which lasted a week, my stepdaughter spent just under twenty-four hours with her own mother.
When I first met my husband and before my daughter and I moved in, my stepdaughter had been taken poorly with Pneumonia, she has suffered with Asthma from an early age and was prescribed an inhaler, but a recent chest infection led to Pneumonia and she was hospitalised. She seemed to recover quite well but less than four months later, she was back in hospital suffering with the same condition. She spent a few days in hospital and my husband and his ex wife were delighted to be advised their daughter could be discharged and recuperate at home. The doctors felt she would get better much quicker in familiar surroundings and at the age of four, hospitals can be scary places for children. The following week, her mother had her back at nursery! Where was my stepdaughter's time getting better? I believe this was the reason that she ended up in hospital the second time, insufficient healing time then forced straight back to nursery with twenty other children suffering with coughs and colds. Some peoples parenting skills differ than those of my own.
So now another weekend to look forward to and as I suspected, on her arrival, my step daughter makes it perfectly clear she is having absolutely nothing to do with me. She is all over her daddy and no way am I allowed anywhere near. She has her, "he's my daddy so don't come anywhere near us" look on her face. Sunday evening after she has gone home, my husband comments that without opening a debate, if I wasn't going to speak to her then I can't blame her for not speaking to me! If she wants to ignore me fine but I will not be drawn into this game or stand off.
My mind is on my own daughter who is visiting her father. When she returns, she will bring a heap of issues of her own. After her first visit, she would have nothing to do with my husband, her stepfather. It came out that her father told her that HE was her daddy and she wasn't to forget it. It took several hours to convince my daughter that it is perfectly acceptable to love people other than her parents, after all, she loved her brother didn't she? I hate seeing her distancing herself from her stepfather. They are extremely close so the situation concerning my stepdaughter who is not talking to me at this time, is not on my list of priorities. If she doesn't want to speak or be in my company I really couldn't care less. I don't want to be in hers either!