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Do those who are not decent, deserve decency from the truly decent?

Rags's picture

A preponderance of effort in SParent life seems to revolve around being decent to those who aren't.

IMHO, decency is not intermitent. Someone either is, or they are not. Even if they are occassionally decent, they do not deserve decency without a commited demonstration of decency all of the time.

Yes, people get angry, or hurt, or, or, or, or, or.  But, are the fundimentally decent?

That is the question.

If not, why do we torture outselves being decent to ... the indecent?

Be decent, or be gone.  For adults anyway.

For kids, be decent, or be miserable because.  In an age appropriate application anyway.

Just my thoughts of course.

MorningMia's picture

A preponderance of effort in SParent life seems to revolve around being decent to those who aren't.

If that isn't the truth! I have always said that indecent people count on the decency of others to keep doing what they do. If I had it all to do over again, I would have been a real bitch. . . probably a real single bitch, but what the hell. lol. 

Trudie's picture

I have never looked at it like this before! I'm rephrasing because it applies to so many situations and behaviors...those who behave badly count on others non-reactions/good behavior so they can keep behaving badly! Does this mean we are responsible for ongoing behaviors? Arguably, I think to some extent it does! What we permit we promote. People do not change because they are comfortable. People change for many reasons; Rags mentions 'bringing on the pain'...whether it be isolation, financial, embarrassment, or many other examples. So many times people are not exposed because of the embarrassment it brings to us personally. It is not our shame to bear! Food for thought...does one have any accountability if we have just silently acquiesced and not set boundaries?

Trudie's picture

...I, too, wonder what it might be like to let loose and just be a royal B?!?! It is not my nature though.

Rags's picture

Confronting the indecent isn't being a bitch IMHO.  It is being confident, assertive and icily calm.  No need to rant, curse, etc.  

Be nice, until it is time to not be nice in the words of the great James Dalton..  

That does not mean being a bitch or an asshole.  The indecent are the assholes/bitches in these situations.

MorningMia's picture

I remained quiet during two years of pretty horrendous harassment and punishment (first two years of our marriage) first, because of pure shock at/over what was happening. I recall regularly driving to work crying back then. Horrible. Secondly, I took on (and believe in, for the most part) "Not my circus; not my monkeys." In some cases, that attitude works. But the monkeys had invaded my home (not necessarily physically) and my peace, so it became my circus!  And DH wasn't handling the circus at all. He was also frozen. 

I have often used silence or calm rational talk as a non-reaction to toxicity and drama. Many people just want a reaction out of you, so I will dig in my heels in those instances. In some situations, it works (those situations where you can be rid of the people/crap immediately or in the near future, and just move along). In other situations, it just doesn't. People usually equate silence with weakness. 

With our BM/skid situation, they definitely took my silence for weakness, and it also made them crazy that I wasn't reacting, so the hits kept coming and the behavior ramped up until it resulted in direct attacks against me individually, which I could not tolerate. So, I drew the line in the sand with toxic BM. That was the deadly deed which they all hold onto to this day, 16 years later. How dare I. 

Are we responsible for what happens when we remain silent? Sometimes. It's so complicated when it involves so many other people. Had I come out strong at the beginning, I think then-frozen DH would have flipped and we probably would have ended our marriage, thus giving the demons exactly what they wanted. But I tolerated way too much. From there on out, there was skid crap I put up with and finally I set boundaries with them as well. We have to look out for ourselves and our wellbeing. We cannot be doormats. 

The skids did not come around (literally and figuratively), which is why I have virtually zero relationship with them at this point in my life. I don't give a crap. My life is peaceful and I intend to keep it that way. 


Trudie's picture

I see many similarities in our situations. (I can not imagine having to deal with minor children in my home. I do not know how you did it?) I only made it through 1 1/2 years of nonsense though. BM did try to insert herself about 3 times before DH told her to butt out. I never did get it? The kids were adults and OSD's nonsense was no secret. Why on earth was she butting in? Funny thing, she is nice to my face. I had to explain to DH why I didn't fall for it...when words and deeds do not align, it's a hard pass for me.

I think my DH tried to ignore it because he thought it would stop. It just kept escalating, even though I had no contact with OSD. There was also a 22 year history of ignoring her behaviors...that is on him. One can't go back, only forward. So I am thankful he is learning and has changed his stance. I know it isn't easy. Who should he support though? His dysfunctional daughter or his loving wife? 

tryingjusttrying's picture

I've been thinking about your question. When I was a teen, I became angry as a result of the abuse I got from my dad who was a malignant narcissist. I wished that my mom could have understood why I was angry and helped me deal with it instead of rejecting me which is what she did. She never forgave me. I think I have this in the back of my mind when I struggle with what to do with my SS. I know that he has baggage from the way his mom is, and his dad isn't perfect either. There's a part of me who wants to help SS in the way that I wish a grown up had helped me as a teen.

The difference is that he has two bio parents, and I cannot care more than them (as I've learned here). The pattern in my life has been that if I feel that someone is coming from a place of hurt, they're allowed to hurt me (I know that sounds messed up). In a way, I've continued that with SS. I feel sorry for him, so I allow him to act mean and angry because I understand it's coming from hurt. But I'm done with that. I don't fight with SS, retaliate against him, or seek to harm him in any way. But I don't feel guilty anymore about not doing more to get SS to "like" me (as dh would like me to do).

My religious belief also says that everyone was created by God, and therefore are all fundamentally good deep down inside. I've learned though that doesn't mean I'm necessarilty the conduit to help everyone realize that. Everyone is responsible to themselves first and foremost for keeping the light on inisde. Next is my child who I had a huge hand in shaping. Then there are those I cannot change. I'm learning not to dminish myself for those who do not care nor are benefited by my sacrifices.

Rags's picture

Holding others accountable for their actions is not hurting them.  Zero tolerance for their behaviors is also not hurting them.  Protecting you, is not hurting them. Letting them hurt you, is you hurting  you.

People hurting others, are not good people regardless of how the were created. Evil, is a choice.  And sadly far too many make that choice.

IMHO of course.

Take care of you. One who lets others hurt you, certaily isn't taking care of you.

I am so sorry you have lived such hurt in your life.

Give rose

Aniki-Moderator's picture

With the exception of tossing that dishwater on BioHo, I do my damndest to be a good person because that's what I want to be. It's a choice to not lower myself.

Rags's picture

Thanks for playing everyone.   I appreciate 

My thoughts are that the indecent are not to be tortured, however, they should be made to face the facts of their choice to be indecent.

Decency is demonstrated, not universal.  IMHO. People who demonstrate consistent indecency, are indecent until they prove otherwise.  They show me they are indecent, I believe them.

It is a KISS thing for me.

MorningMia's picture

 People who demonstrate consistent indecency, are indecent until they prove otherwise.  They show me they are indecent, I believe them.

You're right. And nobody is perfect. People sometimes behave poorly or make bad mistakes. AND I've said that people who are continuously indecent or who consistently behave badly show that they have a character flaw. I recognized many years ago that BM has a serious character flaw; I've come to recognize that the skids, too, have crap characters. It's who they are. I no longer expect decent behavior from any of them.  

Harry's picture

They worry if SK, have friends, don't do anything, don't go out. Ect.  I understand one doesn't want a SK not leaving the home leaving you to entertain said kid.
  But the majority of the SP blame the kid where the blame is on the BF and BM.  You love the BF, your SO. He does no wrong. So the kids get blame.  
'The parents allowed this behavior to happen. Because they don't want to PARENT.  We get the end result.  
Looking at it these people really didn't know how to be married too.  Some one of them taking the easy road out.  If you know your SO is unreasonable, why would you think they will magically be reasonable with the CO. 
'The other interesting thing is the SP worried more then the Bp.   How do you move hours, from your kid, where it's a 12 hour drive or airplane ride. And expect to parent. ?  
You see them a few days at Christmas, February break, Easter , and summer time.  That's not parenting.  The other parent has the kid 365 - 7 day Christmas 5 days February 5 day Easter 30 summer. 47 days a year.  - 365.  318 days.  So the mother deals with her kid in sickness. School, sports, with out the fathers help.

But the father then complaines he doesn't see the kid.   
I dont see these parents hopping on a plane once a month and spend a weekend with the kid . Must have a excuse.  
'I just feel if you make a kid you.  Have a responsibility to that kid to parent him. Not play games. Not just want 7 days at Christmas to not do anything.  Parenting is hard. But all we do is play for 7 days.  

Trudie's picture

I agree, Harry, usually the behavior is a result of poor parenting. Research 'permissive parenting', this approach is pervasive in today's culture. It is eye-opening. Parenting is the most important job one will have, and too many parents are too worried about being 'liked'. It is not the goal of a parent to be liked, the goal is to raise functional adults. This can be done with love. For instance, I am 'loving' my kids when I let them make their own choices after asking them to review pros/cons and positive outcomes/consequences of said choices. My goal was to teach them to think. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

@Rags, one of my adult skids and his partner can't even give me eye contact any more. They literally ignore me because they: 

A. Are not getting what they feel entitled to

B. See me as an object 

C. Are genuinely hurt and horrible people - indecent to the core with no shame for behavior. 

Now that they are adults making adult decisions and behaving indecently I largely distance myself, ONLY show up if totally obligated to do so and don't ask questions/don't engage in dialogue/quite literally I don't do anythign while I am there except exist. I think there will come a time where I don't even have to show up anymore to another one of their "events" it's been the SKID show for the past 4 years. I don't ask about them, I am not curious about how they are doing. I just hit a point and realized they are not nice good people and not the least bit decent so...I don't care any longer. 

Rags's picture

I am sorry that this is the case for you.

Why is it that Skids nearly always seem to be the indecent when it comes to kids, and BKs do not?  I get that we are a SParent community so it is always the Skids who are indecent.  There are not a lot of BKs in our community. Though the ones we do have, seem to be more decent than not.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

I truly believe that many SKIDs have been programmed to be selfish, transactional and always think "what am I getting out of this?" It comes from guilty parenting, indulgence and possibly some neglect in their past - all things that have nothing to do with the stepparent. They view scarcity in resources and want to "get" what they can - at all costs. Stepparent typically comes in blind and is about building a loving relationship with SKID unknowning that the SKID is not coming in with those same intentions. Thus, the stepparent gets to a POINT where they realize this SKID only cares for themselves and does not care for the stepparent. Subsequently the stepparent gives up. This doesn't sum up every single stepfamily situation but I would gauge that its 80% of the time. 

Rags's picture

behaviors. The why of their toxicity is beyond solution.  They are what they are.  If they keep their crap internally and do not perpetrate toxicity towards others, fine.

If they do perpetrate toxicity towards others, rub their nose in the facts of the stench of their chosen behaviors, make their behavioral choices so painful that they will avoid repeating them at all costs.

Though they are far more likely than not beyond salvage, their pollution of the lives of others has to be destroyed and if that means destroying someone already assimilated into the toxic toilet bowl vortex of toxic manipulations, so be it.

Hopefully, the toxically behaved kid victims will recognize the advantage to abandoning toxicity and embracing decency. Or at least how decency has a decided absence of the misery that they live when they choose toxic.


Keeping a clear line on what they will do, or suffer. Their choice.  The key is keeping the suffering on them and not allowing them to make anyone else suffer.

The Sparent, their mate, their marriage, their home, and their family have to be defended from toxicity. By doing that, all of that , is also a sanctuary for a kid choosing toxicity, when that kid makes better choices.

Exporting the misery to the source parent in the opposition, is also critical.  In any way possible within the bounds of the law.  Bring the pain legally, financially, socially, emotionally. Whatever it takes to make toxicity something so painful that they will avoid it at any cost.

IMHO of course.

tryingjusttrying's picture

I can't or won't take as hard line an approach to consequences as you, Rags, but I agree with your sentiment that allowing toxicity to prloliferate doesn't make the world better, only worse. For me, that means that I want to maintain my sanity and health for the sake of myself, BS, dh, family, and friends. If I can stay positive, that's one more positive person in the world, and one less toxic person. But sometimes that has meant taking turns that feel dark because I typically want to give people the benefit of the doubt, be as generous as possible, and try to be as open and authentic as possible with people. But if I naively gave SS full trust, he would probably take advantage of it and would certainly not appreciate it. So I find myself judging, withholding and sometimes not being forthright. I'm trying to navigate this ambiguous space where what is right or wrong can depend on context. I hope by the end of it, I can still call myself a decent person.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

A decent person has boundaries - follow your instinct. My SKIDs are now adults and different varying degrees of arm's length approach is necessary. They take, take and take. One is a little better and the other gets worse each year. I was very decent through their growing up but that did not mean they became decent. Now I take a hands off approach and limit my interaction to necessary and that is all. I am no longer curious about their lives and I don't ask DH questions - I will sometimes chime in an opinion or two when they act horrendous but that's about it. 

Rags's picture

You are decent. You will always be decent.

I consider myself decent, though I set boundaries, enforced them, and eleminated every conduit of toxicity that I could when the SpermClan crawled out from under their rock to make another toxic run at our son.

My DW was the one to give them the benefit of the doubt.  When we chased them back under their rock and they stayed their for a while, she would take her foot off of their thoats proclaiming that they had learned and she could be less firm with them. Nearly mmediately they would go toxic to the point they had been before, and beyond.

It took a few of the 1 to 2 yearcycle of them cycling between quiet due to the last application of pain response to toxic, and then taking a mile when DW would give them another chance.  Finally she learned and after that, it was full pain all of the time if they so much as twitched.

My wife is beyond decent.  They, are not decent at all. They weren't for the 16+ years we lived under the CO and have not been with SS-31 in the nearly 14 years since he aged out from under the CO at 18.

The only place for them is in their genetic cesspool splashing around together. They have no place with access to the decent.  Unfortuantetly their choices have likely imacted our son for life.  No kid escapes unscathed when cursed with a toxic shallow and polluted end to their gene pool


ESMOD's picture

I'm not going to let an ugly person make me into an ugly person.  I'm a decent person... and being a decent person, will be as civil as possible.. not participate in drama etc..

BUT.. being a decent person is not the same thing as being an apologist, a doormat or a sucker.  Decent people are allowed to set boundaries to the extent they will spend time or not with toxic people.  They don't have to financially support people that are not decent to them etc.. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

100% agree with this statement. This is exactly where I am at. I don't participate in the drama- I shut it down by ignoring it. There's been recent efforts to draw me into arguments and to blame me for anything under the sun - I don't even engage any longer. I continue to widdle down what little relationship we have so that each year the "arguments" are so loosely connected in my reality that it leaves my DH scratching his head when they complain and cry about me. What exactly could stepmom have done to make you cry at this point? She doesn't even speak to you. I limit my interaction with these toxic people and I do not financially support adult SKIDs. I have on occassion been generous only to have my hand slapped. 

Little Type Amy's picture

All of this right there, which also reflects my own reality in Stepworld. Have also been utilizing the "widdle down" strategy too. You think it works until the SD finds reasons to still get pissy at you and cry BECAUSE of you not speaking to them. which used to also suit them just fine for so long.  We know its really because they live for attention if that desire is just on their terms and cant stand it when you withdraw yours. 

Trudie's picture

I don't ever get in the mud!

grannyd's picture

Great, thought-provoking post, Rags! And it doesn’t just apply to step life. In the 1980s, our Prime Minister generously invited many Iranian refugees to Canada and I had great difficulty with being expected to tolerate the intolerant, particularly when it affected my own family.

An Iranian family moved next door to my baby sis, a kind and generous woman who truly lives her deep faith. She is without prejudice of any kind. 

Whenever my sister used her swimming pool (decently clad in a one-piece bathing suit), the Iranian father would glare at her, cover his son’s eyes if he happened to be outside at the same time, then hustle the boy inside. The man’s wife behaved in the same, discourteous fashion. Finally, my sister felt uncomfortable using her pool when the Iranians were outdoors, then stopped swimming altogether, fearing that they might appear.

There were a number of these immigrant families in my sister’s neighbourhood and several of the welcoming Canadians were having similar difficulties; their attempts to greet and socialize with the newcomers was rudely rebuffed. My few encounters were equally unsuccessful; when I met Iranian ladies at the supermarket, the fabric shop etc., my smiles were almost exclusively returned with glares of dislike. 

Rejection is a hurtful thing, regardless of the source. I’ve subsequently developed a dislike for Iranian immigrants, a sad thing, since I’m convinced that there are far more fine people among them than the ones that I’ve chanced upon. Whether one is being expected to tolerate one’s ‘indecent’, intolerant stepchildren or any other nasty, toxic person, there comes a point when repeatedly offering one’s cheek to be slapped becomes impractical and downright masochistic! 


MorningMia's picture

I have nothing against Iranians/any immigrants, but I sure would have been tempted to go skinny dipping all summer! *ROFL*

Rags's picture

Exactly right. Time for grannyd's sister to start hosting summer teenybopper parties for the neighborhood teens and their friends with scantily clad nubile young men and women running amok in her yard dancing and goofing off. For the watching and listening pleasure of the scowling neighbors.

Why not counter the toxic neighbors with some decent good natured red blooded Canadian joyful energy?



An intersting thing about being a teen in KSA was we had great summer parties. Many people had pools at their company supplied homes on camp (Camp is what the companies communities were called). There would be massive pool hop parties where parents would host dozens of teens (HS and College students home for the summer or holidays).  Often the Saudi kids were the biggest partiers as they could get real booze where the Expat kids pretty much made our own.  The were just part of the returning student group. Both the guys and the girls.  It was always a very interesting thing to see a beautiful young Saudi woman in a swimsuit at a party one day then see her out for a meal with her parents wearing an abaya and shaila the next. The parents knew all about it and did not have any issue with it. 


Rags's picture

I grew up there, then lived and worked there as an adult.  My parents also grew up there, and returned as adults raising my brothers and I there.

My dad was always very respectfult but also very assertive.  One of the most interesting lessons I received from observing my dad dad was when we had arrived back in the US on what was called Repat leave.  We had landed in the US and were in line for passport control.  An Arab man walked past literally hundreds of people in the line and forced his way into the line. We were probably 20 or so spots behind where he cut in.  My dad left the line, went up to the man, spoke to him very sternly in Arabic, placed his hand on the guys shoulder, and escorted him to the back of the line. Which in the time the guy had cut forward had grown by probably 50 people.  What dad said to the guy was "You can pull that shit in your country but you are in my country now and that will not happen. Get your ass to the back of the line."  That guy's eyes were buggin when my dad jacked his shit.

Sadly what you described is not a rare thing with many of those people.  I respect their culture and I have many of them who I respect beyond measure. But like any culture, there are those who are far from respect worthy and who wear the face of the most brutal stereotype behaviors of those cultures.

I have had to apply my own version of dad's example on a number of occassions.  My go to is a stern "Enough!" in their language when necessary.   The list of incidents is very long.

My DW is a very tall,stunning, shapely woman.  Interestingly many of the women of the countries we lived in would gravitate to her.  But there was always some who would be wretched towards her including attempting to hit her with shopping cards, rant at her, etc... There were always people who would intervene including dragging a cart assaulter or a screamer out of a store.  The funniest thing imaginable is a couple of young locals railing at the person/people disrespecting my wife. These tiny petite little Qatari, Sauid, Moroccan women defending their friend is hillarious to see as they are bodyguarding my Amazon/Glamazon bride.   She has been in weddings, the guest of honor at womens celebrations in famiy homes, etc.  She mentored a number of your Arab women over the years who were engaging in their educations and careers.  As did I with both young men and young women.  We have a number we speak with regularly. We get calls on pregnancies, degree completions, job promotions, invites to just about anywhere and everywhere, and promises that they will visit us.  Decent people regularly seem to find each other.

A favorite example of my bride applying the dad lesson to an ill behaved "one of those people" was remarkably similar to what dad did with the line jumper.  We had just landed in our final destination after a 24 hour series of flights back to the US for a 2wk visit.  We got in very late so we had booked a SuperShuttle (pre Uber days) to my parent's house. They were on a trip themselves so we were staying at their house for a couple of days to get over jetlag before getting on with our plans.  DW had made the reservation for the SuperShuttl so she was at the counter while I watched our bags. This young likely Indian/Bangladeshi/Shrilankan/Pakistani woman shoved in front of my wife putting her hand on my DW's passport and wallet ont eh counter,  and started demanding that the individual behind the counter help her, my wife is nearly 6ft tall.  When the young woman shoved her out of the way my wife very calmly smashed the woman's hand on the counter with her fist then hipchecked her out of the way telling her to knock it off and grow some manners and that that crap would not fly here. The look on that demanding little turd's face was classic. My wife then calmly got back to dealing with the clerk who told the young woman to get in line.  Several people in line started clapping.  Dad's move and my bride's move would not have been done in those countries in the same way. But when you spend years there experiencing their crap, it is a very different story when they pull that crap here. Particularly when these are people you just spent 24+ hours crammed in a plan with and watched ply their toxicity on flight attendants, etc.... the whole flight.

I am okay checking decency for a quick lesson when the opportunity arrises.

While there are any number of "Ugly Americans" who bare their own idiot asses when traveling, it is not solely an American trait.  When we are overseas we are exceptionally respectful of the people of the country we are working in or visiting.  But we will not abide the rude bullshit either.  Particularly when we get home to our country.  

What is interesting about your sister's neighbors is that Iran was a very cosmopolitan place pre Islamic revolution.  Very fashionable clothing styles, bikininis at the beaches, etc....  The UAE is an incredible place where you regularly see barely there swimwear worn at beaches and pools next to people in fully covered and veiled people and there is rarely any drama involved.  Even Saudi is moderating.  Interestingly in the 60s and 70s Saudi was gaining some  cosmopoitanism as well. Then there was a multi-decade hyper conservative swing.  With the ascention of Crown Prince MBS as the primary ruling Monarch, things have rapidly swung to the far more moderate side.  Women now drive, they no longer have to be escorted by male family members, they have career opportunities, no longer have to be covered and veiled, they are developing movie theaters, have opened for tourism, and recently announced they are legalizing alcohol.

The most incredible thing I have seen is women's motorcycle riding groups where young Saudi women in tight riding leathers are hauling ass all over the roads on high performance motorcycles. The men are very careful not to make a scene over it either. 

My heart leaps with all of this.   No doubt there is a grumbling undercurrent from a significant number who would much prefer the old ways.  Hopefully the moderation will continue and lock in as a durable culture change. I have no doubt there have been incidents where traditionalists confont those expressing their new found expanded boundaries.  I also have no doubt that there are some who tried to confront it and are now.... just gone. 

When we lived in Morocco the Moroccans were very observant of all things.  They would call the authorities when anything appeared out of sorts.  Neighborhoods reported a number of ISIS cells while we were there. One in a neighborhood not far from our home there involved a group of young men who shared a residence. They went from selling oranges from carts, barely surviving, to having cell phones, a car, etc.. The neighbors, a bunch of them, knew something was up, engaged the neighborhood elder, who spoke with the authorities.  End of ISIS cell.   A not insignificant # of young Moroccan men joined ISIS. As ISIS was destroyed and those young men started returning home, many never made it to their family homes once they entered the country.  The gov't absolutely eleminated any risk to destabilization.

The Western mind struggles with the fact that democracy is not a concept that ME/Islamic cultures have a history of. They are strong leader cultures.  That is the norm.  We want to induce democracy as we eleminate terrorist threats.  That is a decent hope but pushing it drives push back.  It takes strong man leaders to induce the cultural changes that are happening and to keep the threats to that progress contained.

I am no expert for sure. But I have lived in that region for half of my life and interfaced with the citizens of those countries and even more people from other countries near the region who make up massive %ages of the population as imported labor. At all levels from Executive to menial laborers. Each group has interesting cultural characteristics that have to be carefully observed and navigated when making a life there.  I have dear friends and people I respect beyond measure from all of those groups.  Interestingly, those people have zero tolerance for their own who behave as your sister's neighbors behave.

I can go on for countless keystrokes on this topic.

My advice to your sister is ... live her life. It is her country and she should enjoy her pool.  I would not even put up a tall fense or a massive tall hedge if I were her. Just ignore the trash next door. But... to solve the issue of her having to see them in their yard, plant some fast growing bamboo right on the fense, and some climbing thorny vines to eleminate the neighbors from her life.  


Be nice, until it is time to not be nice. So to speak.