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I can't stand my fiancée's son, and I'm tired of living like this.

PleasantNightmares's picture

Up to this poin, I am the only adult in his life that does not take his abuse. And subsequently, the fact that I am not his biological father notwithstanding, I am the one who receives the most abuse from him. He throws me constant shade, looks at me in a way that, where I to give that look to my parents at his age, I would have had the taste slapped out of my mouth. He growls. He yells. He stomps. He rolls his eyes, closes his eyes, and closes his ears to me. He hides. He closes himself in the bathroom for 15-30 minutes at a time. You know, basically anything to avoid listening to me. If I'm up and walking around, he runs away screaming like a lunatic, or he deliberately blocks my path with a sour look on his face. If I'm talking to his mother, he stands between us, blocks my view of her, and makes as much noise as he can. If I'm affectionate with his mother, he rushes to her, hugs her, and climbs on her while giving dirty looks.

And while we're on his relationship with mama, he also has zero independence. If she isn't in the room, he will not stand for it for more than 30 seconds without seeking her out, even going so far as to barge into the bathroom. He follows her so closely that he literally steps on her heels. And she does not discourage this behavior. If anything, she encourages it. She frequently takes naps with him in our bed and calls it "cuddle time", which can last upward of four hours at a time. During which he has locked me out of our room on several occasions now.

And to make matters worse, we have his biological father to deal with. The man had checked out of the marriage since before the baby was born. He spent all of his free time playing online games and growing to north of 400 pounds. And speaking of his computer, the entire reason baby co-slept until I arrived was because ex-husband was choosing to use baby's room as his computer room, a hole he could crawl into to avoid the family. The crib was never even built. It remained in its box, propped up against the wall and gathering dust while he wasted his life on Everquest. 

My fiancee has a rare form of blood cancer. On the pretense of being there to take care of her, he cut his work hours to half time. All of which were spent playing games either on his computer or his phone, none of which were spent easing her burden. He couldn't even be trusted to pay his own bills, read his own mail, or manage his own bank account. He would leave dishes and garbage strewn about, refusing to clean up after himself, including steak knives that the baby could easily get his hands on. After I got here, and ever since, I have been dealing with stratified piles of his ineptitude. Almost every day, I find new garbage of his that predates my arrival, or another unmended piece of this house, which her parents bought and he let fall apart.

Now, he remains a negligent and destructive presence in baby's life. He has him for a grand total of 48 hours out of every two weeks. And even then, most of the burden of raising baby falls on his parents' shoulders, with whom he lives. He deliberately chooses work schedules that screw his own son out of time with his father. Right now, one of his days off is Monday. And as soon as kindergarten starts, that day will be unavailable to baby, so his bi-weekly 48-hour visit will soon be reduced to a single overnight. 

And even in this brief amount of time he has with him every two weeks, he still finds new ways to do damage. When he's not with him, he shows no interest in his education or welfare except when it's going to cost him money. When he is with him, he damages whatever hard-earned progress we've made by letting him act out, get hurt, and giving him whatever he wants. We had to twist his arm for a year to get him to give him his own bed, and he still frequently co-sleeps for one excuse or another. In ex-husband's room, which is just as much of a steak-knife-littered pigsty as this house was when he was living here. Every week baby visits his father, he comes back having regressed just a bit more, and having become just a bit more of a terror.

I cannot stand this kid, and I cannot stand the circumstances under which I am forced to deal with him. I can't help but feel bad about it, given that I am now one of his primary caregivers, and that he very clearly has some signs of autism (though we won't know for sure for quite some time, as the wait list to have him evaluated is 15 months out at minimum). But everyone has their breaking point, and I have been dealing with this for almost two years now. I left my family and friends, everyone I ever knew or loved, to be here with her and help her raise him. And now, I'm on the verge of a relationship-ending fight with him, his father, and his mother.

I don't want to leave her. I still want her, and I don't want to leave her high and dry in this predicament all on her own. Especially not with her illness. But I cannot stand to live like this anymore.

ndc's picture

How old is this kid? You refer to him as a baby.  Is he a toddler? A preschooler? Older?  

I don't think you do yourself or your fiancee any favors by marrying her when you can't stand her kid who is young and will be around for many years.  Is she on board to make significant changes and properly parent her child?  If so, it might be worth giving the relationship some time (without getting married), to see if she can turn her son around so he's a likeable kid who respects you and you can live with.  If not, it's probably best to walk away.

simifan's picture

I agree age is improtant, especially if you suspect Autism. Mom should talk to the Dr. about moving up testing. It is important to begin therapies as young as possible  

PleasantNightmares's picture

He is five years old. I call him "baby" because I'd rather not use names, and because he's showing few discernable signs of growing up. Again, I've been doing this for nearly two years, and the only things that have changed for the better are the changes I had to force with threats of leaving. Including his potty training and bed training. Everything else, particularly his behavior, has only gotten worse over time. I can't even discipline him myself for fear of sharp backlash and spiraling depression from his mother. If nothing changes with the way he is raised, this is only going to get worse. And if this is what 5 looks like, I don't even want to think of what 15 is going to look like.

PleasantNightmares's picture

For some reason, it removed the entire first part of my post. It explains the severity of what's going on, and I can't edit the post. I guess I'll just leave it here, then.

Baby is 5 years old. Baby co-slept, walked around in diapers, and was breast-fed until he was 4 years old. Baby is spoiled. Baby makes demands and doesn't know the words "please" or "thank you". Baby is offered countless options, and given countless gifts that he neither asked for nor earned. Whatever baby wants, baby gets. Baby does not have to do, try, take, watch, or listen to anything that isn't baby's favorite thing. And if it is his favorite thing, baby doesn't have to stop, respect, or appreciate it. Up to and including destroying his toys and others' property, torturing the cat, jumping from furniture, running in the house, wasting massive amounts of food, and screaming at the top of his lungs. Baby cannot be asked to do or stop anything without pouting, shouting, stomping, growling, and glowering. Baby is not punished for bad behavior. Instead, baby is bribed to coax good behavior. And if he fails to exhibit good behavior, baby is rewarded anyway.

sleepymeg's picture

It's your fiancee's parenting (or lack of) that's the issue. You should NOT be the one disciplining the child but you also shouldn't be receiving any abuse from them. You need to discuss this with your fiancee, and if she's not willing to set any ground rules than you need to decide if you can really continue to live like this. The child would also probaby benefit from some behavioural therapy. Five is still quite young and he might change as he gets older, but you need to realize the reasons you can't stand him stem from the way his mother is raising him.

tog redux's picture

I love how you used 5 paragraphs to describe how awful the father is when he sees the kid for 4 days a month; and didn't mention your girlfriend's horrific parenting directly. She's the problem in this equation. 

You seem to see her as some sort of victim rather than the person who contributed the most to ruining this child. Don't hate the child, he's just the result of her failure to parent. 

PleasantNightmares's picture

I used 5 paragraphs to describe how awful the father is because he is half of the equation that resulted in this child being so awful. As it continues to be. His involvement is just minimal enough to be of zero positive consequence, but just plentiful enough to undo progress we've made when getting him to change his behavior is like pulling teeth. All it takes is one visit to daddy's to come to the conclusion, "Daddy doesn't make me behave. It's unreasonable of them to make me behave." And thus we take two steps backward.

I'm not going to argue the MRA talking points with you. In most cases, I agree. But in this case, he's a destructive force in this child's development and will be acknowledged as such. And as for me not hating the kid, I agree. THEIR raising of this kid is to blame. But at some point or another, he will have to be acknowledged as his own person, and held responsible for his own behavior. The older he gets, the worse he gets, the more people will blame him instead of his so-far shoddy upbringing. At the end of the day, he is the one antagonizing everyone in this house, and I am human.

ESMOD's picture

Dad is half of the genetic makeup.. but your wife is by far the largest ongoing influence on the child's behavior.  i would say that when it is all said and done.. dad's influence may be ongoing but it is pretty small.... you have pretty much 2 week stretches in your home.. if he regresses so quickly, I'm guessing that your wife is probably not being anywhere consistent with her child in your own home.. especially when you aren't around to manage it.

The kid is 5 and may have some adjustment in rule following following a visit.. and may need to be reminded of what is expected of him.. at FIVE he would likely need to be reminded anyway.  

The kid is spoiled because he has been spoiled.  He is young enough to have that reversed with consistent parenting but I don't think he is getting that from either parent really.  I also think your standards may be higher than your GF can maintain for you.. so this is going to be a long haul for everyone I'm afraid.

PleasantNightmares's picture

If you think my standards are too high, I would really like to know what exactly you think my standards are, ESMOD.

I am well aware of her failure to discipline him and put him on a path to changing these behaviors. I'm not absolving her of anything. My standards for her are to be a mother, not an endlessly accomodating, spoiling bubble that will tolerate his abuse. And my standards for him are simply for him to listen every once in a while instead of being an obstinate, destructive brat from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning to the moment he closes them at night.

tog redux's picture

All I hear is that you want to give your SO a pass while blaming the dad. If a 5-year-old comes home saying that, his mother should say, "I don't care what happens at your father's, these are the rules in my house."  Instead, she coddles, spoils and fails to set limits. 

5-year-olds are young children. They can only behave this way with support from a parent, and in this case, it's your SO who is allowing it. 

It won't get better if you don't put the blame where it belongs. On her. 

PleasantNightmares's picture

Because that's all you're listening for, tog redux. I've alloted her share of the blame several times now, you simply skip over it because you think me giving his father a share of the blame in his behavior prior to me entering the picture is to completely ignore hers. I KNOW this continued behavior is because she allows it. That is the main problem, but it doesn't paint the complete scenario. If I wasn't still dealing with her father, he wouldn be a footnote at best in this conversation. But I am, and he isn't.

tog redux's picture

And you aren't listening to any of us who say that dad's 4 days a month don't cause more damage than her 26 days of parenting him. It's easy and fun to blame the ex and kid. Takes the person you love off the hook.  But the reality is that she is the one failing to parent adequately in your home and that's causing the most problems. 

BTW, my DH has a crazy ex. But my SS behaved in our home because DH didn't allow him to do otherwise. He was awful at his mother's. 

PleasantNightmares's picture

Yes, tog redux, I am. Because I have repeatedly acknowledged that she is the main cause of his behavior in the here and now. His father's behavior, though still a factor, is not a major contributor to the here and now. But it is a major factor in what started this pattern of behavior in the first place, and that is why he is worthy of mention. Regardless, if she cannot be swayed to make changes, it doesn't make my life any more livable to shift all of the blame onto her and fail to mention any other adult in his life making a contribution.

Here's another person of note. His grandmother, her mother. She's sweet as pie, and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. But most of his material spoiling comes from her. She is incapable of being in his presence without bringing another three or four random gifts in tow, none of which she expects gratitude for, and she is as tolerant of his abusive behavior as his mother is. And she is in contact with him much, much more than his father.

If felt his father was worthy of particular mention because, while all of them are to blame for his behavior, he is the only one whose faults did not least come from good intentions. She and her mother care for his well-being and value him in their own misguided way. His father's contribution to his behavior came from a place of pure apathy and negligence. He may not be what's keeping the pattern going, but he was a major factor in what got the pattern started.

ESMOD's picture

Ok... assuming we all agree.. "dad is part of the problem" either through his shoddy gene pool or poor parenting for 4 of 30 days of the month.

What can be controlled in this equation?  Is it your GF's EX who has the kid 4 days... maybe soon to be TWO a month?  Or is it your GF's parenting that continues to fail to set appropriate standards of behavior and continues to coddle and spoil her son.  Who is the one in your household? SHE is.. so even if HE is a bad influence ... there is little to nothing you can do about that... nada.  So, focusing where you CAN have influence is the best thing to do.. and that is the lady sharing your bedroom.

Yeah.. it's frustrating when the kid goes to the other house where there are different rules.. but eventually kids understand what they can do and what they can't in each home.. he is 5 it will take a little longer.  But, I think the root of your issue is your GF is not as on board with this as you want this to be.

ESMOD's picture

Sounds like this child has pulled a couple of dud cards from the parent deck.  HIs father has him 4.. soon to be only 2 days a month and even then.. by your admission, he is likely not even doing much parenting with him.  So, aside from the genepool contribution? The father is not the root of the problem here.

Your GF... as much as you may care for her.. feel sorry for her lot in life etc.. is the main culprit in why her son is the way he is.  She picked a crappy partner to make a child with, but she is doing nada really to make things better is she?  She is the one that perpetuated this infantilization of the child.  Who, by the way is only 5 and it seems like your expectations are very high for a child of that age.. so part of your problem is actually your own expectations don't match up with the reality happening in your home.. and while not great.. the kid doesn't sound like they are doing anything but what they were taught to do.  He won't be the first 5 year old to be clingy.. spoiled.. etc..

And.. the regression when he comes back from his dad's.. lots of kids.. especially young kids have difficulty transitioning to different homes.. it uproots their stability and it can take them a bit to re-center.. I saw it with my SD's too...  Calm and consistent rules and expectations being reinforced should bring him back around.

But... your wife isn't doing that is she?  She coddles him... She is not a great parent.  She loves her child, don't get me wrong, but you see her work in him.. and it's not really that successful is it? 

So, you do need to make a life decision here.  the kid is not going away.  He is 5.. expect at least another 15 years of him being in the home.. not progressing.. (because mom isn't parenting).. living in the basement into his 20's... following in dad's footsteps because no one ever set expectations for him.

Your wife didn't ride her eX to man up and be a partner and provider that the family needed.. she isn't working to improve her child's outlook either.. I am guessing she doesn't get on you much either? for whatever you do or do not do that is lacking.. 

If you want this to change, you need to be able to discuss with your wife how your household will move forward.. how it is teh most kind and responsible thing to set expectations for her son.. you don't blame the SON for doing what she has allowed.. but it's time to nip it in the bud.. if she resists then you need to find a new partner without these issues.  This is about how SHE parents.. not some failing in her child.. and that is going to be a hard discussion.

PleasantNightmares's picture

But my expectations of this child are not unreasonable. I don't expect him to have no energy and make no noise, I expect him to mind when told and not to repeat his bad behavior five seconds after admonishment. I don't expect him to instantly and completely adhere to our every command or spoken rule, but I do expect him to acknowledge that we are parents and authority figures, not servants who live to please him. He is the product of his raising. But so is everyone else on this planet, and eventually, people are going to hold him accountable for his actions, not his upbringing. If he's misbehaving, I will talk to his mother about how he's being raised after the fact, as I have countless times. But in the moment, I'm not going to blame her when he is the one exhibiting bad behavior.

ESMOD's picture

Lots of kids have to be told multiple times to "cut it out".. just like my puppy who I say NO.. then he does it again.. then again.. then I have to remove him from the

He is a 5 year old.. they have notoriously low impulse control at that age.  He has been coddled and catered to.. of course he expects that.  It isn't something that he is logically going to take in and be able to fix in short order.. it's frustratingly repetitive consistancy in your home that will set those expectations and he will be able to better adhere to them over time.  

There is also the possibility he has behavioral issues that make it even harder for him to 'behave"... so, while I understand that he frustrates you.. and while he may be doing the "bad thing".. he is doing that not with any malicious intent..he just does what he does because he has always been allowed to.  It will take time to fix this.. time as in years.. as in he will be a work in progress over his childhood.

so, yes, he should be corrected and have consequences that match the infractions and repeated ignoring of adult authority... yes.. those are things he needs to understand are wrong.. but you also have to temper that with the fact that he IS this way due to the way he was raised... and that has been almost 100% your GF's handiwork.  

This is going to take a lot of patience, fortitude and consistency... and while his father may have a negligably negative net impact on his life.. he is not likely to "go away".. so that is something that everyone needs to accept and double down on consistancy when he IS in your home.  (which is almost all of the time).

shoot, my SD's would come back from the grandparents not thinking they had to do anythign because granny waited on them hand and foot... sorry hunnies... you are home now.. you don't get that service here...haha.

What you describe is not totally abnormal.. but clinging to the idea that her EX is somehow a major factor in this when he has been for the most part absent from the kid's upbringing?  unless dad has some damaged genes he passed on.. it's probably a lot more NURTURE than NATURE in the behavior you are seeing and that rests mostly with your GF.


PleasantNightmares's picture

I acknowledge this, and she is the main reason I am making this post. But she is not the only factor causing this behavior, because she is not the only adult in his life allowing this behavior. And frankly, neither is her ex. His grandparents, aunts and uncles also allow it. Until I arrived, every adult in his life was an enabler of his behavior. And given that I am the first who calls him on it, yes, his behavior toward me has been malicious. It's not just that he misbehaves in ways that are amusing to him. He also misbehaves in ways that are deliberately defiant and spiteful toward me in a way that he does not for his mother. You ought to see the way he looks at me every time I look at him. It may be the malice of a five year old, but trust me, it is malice. And I expect it'll become a more developed, matured malice as time goes on if this pattern of raising him continues.

ESMOD's picture

Unfortunately, when everyone but you is allowing him to misbehave.. is it any wonder he resents you?  He likely would have some resentment because you are taking some of mommy's attention anyway.. but being the one to set these boundaries.. it isn't putting you in any better light in the spoiled 5 year old's eyes.

I think you have some tough choices to make here as to whether this relationship is right for you.  Your GF is not supportive of your goal to have her son behave better.  Neither is his EX or his grandparents.. but they are minor players here.  The biggest issue is your GF and you don't agree on how her son should be raised and what expectations there are for him.

Ideally, a stepparent is not parenting.. they are the partner of the parent.  They can have a relationship with the child too.  But it works better if it's not in the "rule making authoritarian" role way...because as you can see.. you get all the resentment and none of the "praise" or appreciation.  

I'm not saying I didn't encourage manners and good behavior in my DH's kids (5 and 9 when I met him).. but I didn't step in and try to wholesale change the way the kids were living... which in a way is what you are trying to do.. since his mom was very spoiling with him (along with everyone else).  i also didn't do big time correction or consequences.. I mean.. a couple times I laid a law down.. but rarely.. I could trust my DH to have his girls on a decent level of behavior.  it doesn't sound like your GF is either capable of that.. and maybe doesn't want it.  that means your future with an increasingly defiant kid towards you... and a GF who is NOT acting like a good partner by undermining behavior that you need to feel comfortable in your home.

PleasantNightmares's picture

Believe me, I'd much rather be a partner to her parenting. But the circumstances of me being here already put me in a negativee light with half of this child's family. And moving forward, at least half of the blame for his behavior is going to be cast on me as an acting caregiver and father figure. He's going to be starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks, and I'm honestly dreading it. I'm already expecting to hear negative reports from his teacher that are going to damage our reputation. I can only hope that having more authority figures in his life is going to help to give him guidance, but given his pattern of behavior of the past couple years, my expectations are low. And that makes me feel terrible.

Winterglow's picture

Don't dread it, rejoice. Being told about her son's behavior by a figure of authority could be the eye-opener that your gf needs. Being among other kids (it's my guess that the kid hasn't been socialized much -right?) could be an electroshock for him. 

ESMOD's picture

I agree with Winterglow.. perhaps if the school calls out behavior your wife will be more inclined to start being more interested in dealing with it?

I do think you are still trying to lay an awful lot on her EX.  saying he is the "origin of it".. clearly your wife was more than participating in the origin of this.  The guy was likely just as absent and lazy of a father when he was in the home as he is now.. aside from some potential lazy or mental illness genes (and honestly.. not so sure the laziness is an inherited trait.) the boy is the way he is because his mother and every other adult around him catered to him.. but make no mistake.. mommy is the one that has done most of the damage.. and even now.. it doesn't sound like she totally backs you up on your expectations... so she is really the origin for more than half of what you are seeing.. dad? he is next to irrelevant.. not a positive influence but not a factor in the kid's life enough to be any kind of major influence.

Yeah.. the kid comes back regressing.. but lots of kids, especially young kids, act out due to the instability of going back and forth to different homes.  If your home is consistent and stable.. these episodes of regression should diminish.. but only if your wife wants what you want and I am not entirely sure about that.

Again.. the only control you have is in your home.  If your GF and partner is not committed to a home environment and parenting plan that is compatible with your view of normal and sane expectations? you have a major divide and lack of meeting of the minds here.. and THAT is reason to consider that the relationship might not be right for you.  The other household impact can be diminished over time.. the kid's behavior CAN improve.. if your GF steps up and does the work.. in fact may work even better if you are able to step back and not be seen as the enforcer in the home.. SHE needs to want to take that role as the parent.. if she can't/won't  then you have your answer.. she is not a good parent and not being a good partner to you.

Your expectations may be a little high.. but probably not off the charts.. but if they are wildly different than hers.. you will never be happy in the home.

Loxy's picture

That sounds like a very tough situation and one without any happy ending in sight. 

You have already had lots of comments about your high/unrealistic expectations so the only thing I will say there is that expecting a child who potentially has Autism or some sort of disorder and who has also clearly had nothing but dysfunctional parenting to act like a normal 5 year old simply isn't fair. 

As is always the case on the majority of these posts, the probelm is the bio parents inability to parent. I can't see that changing in your situation. Nor do I think the bio Dad is suddently going to change either.

So the only thing you can change is you and how you respond. I would suggest counselling as you have a lot of anger and resentment to work through. If you can't work through that, and aling on parenting with your partner, then you need to walk away for your own sanity and also for that child. 

Rags's picture

When he pulls his crazy crap pick him up, carry it his room. Place him in the middle of the floor, leave and close the door.  

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Watch some episodes of Super Nanny. Adapt methods accordingly.