Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dumping my brain, to try to make it, make sense

My husband met and got engaged to his ex-wife while she (he would find out later) was still married to her second husband. My husband adopted his own son when he married his ex in 1988. They had another son, then she met her fourth husband. She was pregnant when they separated, my husband gave up parental rights to his third child (maybe, it isn't known definitively) and her third child was adopted by husband number four. She went on to have a fourth child with her fourth husband. My husband had custody of his oldest child in 1991/1992 when his ex-wife left. Eventually, she wanted Shan back, so in 1992/1993, my husband gave her custody.

He stayed in close contact with his ex, her new husband, and the children as well as could be expected with them living in California and my husband residing in Florida. In 1994, another military transfer landed the ex and husband number four back in Florida. We also met in 1994.

From 1994 to 2001, we had the children very liberally. They (including my step children's half siblings) spent every weekend and lots of in between time with us. In 2001, they decided that they didn't have time for us any more. They had stopped wanting to visit and their mother was loathe to enforce visitation, so my husband chose to let them be. It is suspected that her fear of them wanting to live permanently with us, which would have stopped her child support payments, caused her to go to extreme measures to keep the children away from us.

In 2007, my oldest step son showed up on our doorstep. He was 20. He had two children and was being sued for support. He did not then, nor does he now have anything to do with his kids. We took him in. He lived with us for a year. That time was awful for our family. My husband's job had slowed down and the there was no overtime to be had. We struggled to buy groceries and clothes for the kids, but, somehow we stretched our means and made room for Shan. While he was with us, he went once a month to drill (Army reserves) and drilled for two weeks in Summer. Most of his pay went directly to child support. The rest he bought games with. He contributed NOTHING during his stay with us. He received a large sign on bonus in 2008 and he returned to his mother's house. He stayed there until recently when the money ran out.

My younger step son joined the Navy. He was away for the majority of the period of time that Shan was with us in '07. In June, Shad was discharged from the Navy. He returned to live with his mother after leaving the service.

In September, the boys' mother put her foot down. She is going through divorce number four, and has no room in her budget for adult children who don't contribute. The boys spent time bouncing between friends' homes until they had exhausted their welcome. Then Shad reconciled with his mother and returned to her home for five weeks while Shan stayed with us.

The problems started when Shad showed up on my doorstep. The situation around our house deteriorated very quickly until I threw both of them out. The boys then went to stay with my husband's brother, and then his sister. On Thanksgiving, my husband called his family to let them know (the condensed version) of what had happened and encouraged them to close their doors to the boys, as they had stolen from us, were violent, and unpredictable.

When the boys found out that they were no longer welcome with my husband's family, they returned to our house making yet more threats and trying to kick down the door. I physically blocked the door to prevent my husband from going after the boys. The neighbors scared them off. Their father procured restraining orders against them yesterday. I am hoping that they will stay away.

I shared the lengthy and complicated family history because I wanted to shed some light on why the boys might be as messed up as they are. It is not to say that their mother didn't do a good job raising them, it was more to explain that their formative years were very unstable. In hindsight, maybe we should have forced the boys to spend the time with us, maybe it would have made a difference. Maybe not.

Their problems at the moment are centered around the fact that they want me gone. They want my husband to believe that I have made mistakes similar to their own mother, and that I am unworthy to be his wife. No, I'm not speculating, they actually said this. They believe that if they can just get rid of me and my children, their dad will give them the house to stay in and that he'll support them, while they try to grow up. Again, their words, not mine.

If only they were mature enough to see that what they want will never come to pass. My husband came to this country as a young man. He has supported himself since then, doing anything from washing dishes, to serving, to finally engineering. He put himself through college, and then through graduate school. My husband doesn't believe in free rides. We are at an impasse. I hope that the boys move on. Maybe go to their mother's family in Virginia, or better yet Morocco. I just want to be able to move forward from here.

The damage that they have done is extensive. They have cast aspersions on my character with my husband's family, who already believes me to be the Great White Satan, so this was certainly not a welcome happening. They have hurt me and my children in ways that I can barely begin to describe. I have loved those kids for many years now, most of their lives, really. It is very hard to come to terms with them not reciprocating the love that I had for them, but worse still, outright hating me.

Then there are my children, who worshipped their oldest brother. The same brother that has made threats against their lives and stolen from them. How do we mend this hole in their hearts? How can I help them come to terms with something that I, as an adult, am struggling with?

My husband's heart is broken. He is absolutely crushed. It is said that time heals all wounds...I'm not so sure that is true.


  1. So sorry you are going through this! You can do the "shoulda, woulda coulda" for ever and it won't change today. Just try to focus on what you can do today & in the future. You and your husband did the best for YOUR family to keep them safe, never forget that. While it doesn't help that they have put doubt in your husbands family when things are already hard really stinks. However, as time goes on eventually hopefully they will see you are a dedicated wife regardless of skin color (though I know that is very hard).

    Your husbands sons seem desperate and in turn have turned to threats and/or violence to try to get their way.

    Sometimes the best love is tough love. Both these young men (boys) are far old enough to support themselves.


  2. I am sorry for all that you and your husband are going through. I wish you all the strength that you need to get through this.

  3. I can't imagine how it must feel to have to turn your own away. It is absolutely the right thing to do, but that can be cold comfort. Maybe in the end, it'll be the best thing for the boys as well as for you and your family at home. Maybe their oldest brother will be worthy of that worship again. At least by taking action now, you've given everyone a chance at a future together,

    As for your husband's family's feelings towards you, that sucks. But what can you do but be yourself and let the chips fall?
    Which reminds me, your new nickname is Great White Satan. GWS for short.

    Stay strong Viv.

  4. Oh wow. I'm so sorry! You can't second guess yourselves. They are adults and are making their own choices.

    I hope things settle down for you soon.

  5. Oh, I'm so sorry....thank you for sharing! You are strong--as well your husband. It's amazing how when children don't learn to be selfless when they are young that they can be incredibly selfish adults, and act like snotty, bratty children even as adults. However, they tend to get in much more trouble the older they get. Heartbreaking yes. However, they are responsible for their own actions. Perhaps they are acting like children, but they are just not wanting to accept responsibility for what must come to be. Each family has their own heartbreaks, and I commend you for dealing so well with yours. Children are resilient, and your young ones, with lots of love and communication from you, will recover I'm sure. But it is hard to see children hurt when you want to protect them from it. Good luck with it all in the next few weeks and months.

  6. I'm so sorry. I see now that your husband talking to them is of little use. They are very angry and I'm sure the instability of their past does have something to do with it. I hope they move on, like you said and you can begin to feel safe again.

  7. and another thought...If this has been going on around H, maybe it could explain some of his behavior issues. I'm taking mine for an assesment next week actually.

  8. Time can heal many wounds, if you are removed from the source of the pain. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like this will ever end. As long as your husband is their father. I'm so sorry. I have no advice. Just the comment that I am happy to have 'found' you and I'm always here to vent to.