Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Younger ex daughter...

So...  a few months ago, my husband's father and stepmother lost their dog, Ginger, to death by natural causes.  My husband's younger daughter-- I refer to her as "ex daughter" because she disowned Bill in 2006 and allegedly got adopted-- left a comment expressing condolences.  Bill commented to ex daughter.  She briefly responded.  He sent her a private message and months later, she responded.

I haven't read the exchange.  I generally make it a policy not to read the stuff that comes from Ex or Bill's other family members, with the exception of his mother.  Bill inevitably tells me about these things and usually gets me upset.  This time, it sounds like the comments were relatively benign.  Apparently, younger ex daughter wanted to know what Bill's favorite color is.  And what it's like to live abroad.  She says older ex daughter, now aged 25, is still working on a college degree and does charcoal drawings.  She's supposedly also a talented florist and did the flowers for younger ex daughter's wedding.

Thanks to her mother's hateful PAS agenda, my husband's younger kid is now trying to get acquainted with her biological father as an adult.  She's asking questions she should have known the answer to and could have known had she only had access to her dad.  My husband's ex wife refused to allow Bill's daughters to spend time with him.  So now, his daughters are young women and their biological father is a stranger.

I have been very angry with Bill's ex kids for years.  Even as I understand that they were lied to and controlled by a very sick woman, I still hold them responsible for their behavior.  Furthermore, I don't trust them, because I made the mistake of trying to trust Bill's ex stepson.  It turned out all he wanted was money.  We found out about his real agenda in a very pathetic way that was truly heartbreaking for Bill and infuriating for me.

It may be different with Bill's children because they have part of him in them.  On the other hand, they also have part of their mother in them and she has no doubt taught them things.

I knew they weren't finished with us, though.  I knew there would come a day when we'd hear from them.  When younger ex kid started talking to Bill's dad and stepmother, I knew curiosity would win out and one of them would come out of the woodwork.  I don't know how much communication there will be between Bill and his kids.  I know he's excited about it, but I can't say I share in the excitement.

I'm sure people who read this and are unfamiliar with our story will think I'm heartless and evil.  I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  I would have loved to have gotten to know Bill's children and had a normal relationship with them all these years.  I would have done my best to have been a good stepmother or, at the very least, a friend.  I never got that chance.  What's more, I have a feeling that Ex and Bill's stepmother have spun a narrative about me that makes those kids think I'm awful.  I'm really not awful.  I just don't tolerate abusive behavior.  Ex has never met me and SMIL has had limited contact with me.  I have been assertive and they don't like that.

Bill doesn't need my permission to have a relationship with his relatives.  I don't stop him from talking to them or seeing them.  But I refuse to put myself on the firing line with people who think their perspective is the only one that matters.  I believe in mutual respect and, so far, none of them have shown me much.  Bill's daughters have had no contact with us, except through very hateful letters that arrived just in time for Bill's 42nd birthday in 2006.  Their mother probably made them write them, but I get the feeling that they were manipulated into being more cooperative.  As they got older, one would hope they'd understand more.

For those who haven't been following along, here's a timeline of events from my perspective since Bill and I decided to marry...

January 2002- Bill tells his ex wife that he's going to propose to me.  Ex wife asks if I am a member of the LDS church.  He says I'm not and have no plans to join.  Ex informs Bill that she's going to say yes to her boyfriend's repeated marriage proposals.

March 2002- Ex is married to her third husband.

May 2002- Ex is pregnant with her fourth child.  At some point during her pregnancy, she tells my father-in-law that she's not over Bill.

November 2002- Bill and I get married.  It happens to be ex stepson's fifteenth birthday.  Had I known about his birthday, I would have picked a different date.  Not that it matters now.

March 2003- Ex has child #4, a daughter.

June 2003- Ex has a work conference in Washington, DC.  Bill and I are living in a crappy apartment in Fredericksburg, VA.  Bill takes several days off work so he can visit with the kids.  Ex manages to elude his phone calls and keeps us hanging for several days.  We finally get barely 48 hours with them.  At the time, ex stepson is 15 and ex daughters are 11 (almost 12) and 9.  During that visit, younger ex daughter slaps Bill for having beer in the fridge.  She accuses him of being a drunk.  Other than that, we mostly get along.  They also talk to Bill's mother on the phone for the first and last time in years.

August 2003- Ex goes on the warpath about life insurance.  She demands that Bill cover himself for $1 million.  We can't afford more coverage and it would require a policy from another insurance company.  Ex eventually backs off after sending an offensive email to Bill about how she's glad she won't have to fight me in court (But she certainly will have to fight me if it comes down to it.  If I have my way, none of them will get another cent from Bill.  This is how I feel now.  It wasn't how I felt back then.).

Over the next year, Bill fights continually with his ex wife about seeing the kids.  She comes up with repeated excuses as to why they can't visit us.  One excuse is that Ex is afraid to let them fly.  Bill's daughters eventually stop talking to him on the phone.  Younger ex daughter claims to have headaches or is in the bathtub when he calls.  Many times, they don't even answer the phone.  They start calling their stepfather "Daddy" and Bill is referred to by his first name.

September 2004- Ex proposes that we spend Thanksgiving at her house in Arizona.  We are broke, mainly owing to the huge amount of child support she gets for the three kids (eldest kid is not Bill's) and trying to recover from financial disasters during Bill's first marriage.  We can't afford to fly to Arizona and board our dogs.  Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday and I don't want to spend it in Arizona with my husband's ex wife, who has made it clear that she despises me.  The feeling is mutual.  Next, Ex proposes that we go to Tennessee for Christmas.  She and her husband will stay with Bill's dad and stepmom, while we are expected to get a hotel room.

December 2004-  Bill goes to his dad's house at Christmas to see the kids.  I stay home with the dogs.  I get blamed because the gathering is a "disaster", ostensibly because I wasn't there.  Ex daughters are very hostile to Bill and younger kid refuses to speak to him at all.  Nevertheless, he's delighted to see them, even though his ex and her husband are camping out in his father's house.  This is the last time he will see his daughters in person while they are still kids.

2005 was mainly spent trying and failing to arrange more visitations and phone calls.

April 2006- Ex stepson decides to move out of his mother's home.  He calls Bill and re-establishes contact, making sure he'll still get child support ($850-- again, legally he is not Bill's son).  Ex calls Bill and demands that he talk ex stepson into staying home.  Bill refuses.  Ex sends Bill a horrible email, again blaming me for her problems, telling Bill that the kids don't like me (although they don't really know me), asking Bill to keep secrets from me, and accusing Bill of being a terrible father.  I have ignored Ex's bullshit up until this point.  I send her an email that pretty much eviscerates her.  It's the only communication I have ever had with her, aside from answering the phone the one time she calls us.  Ex is also pregnant during this time.

July 2006- Ex sends Bill a bunch of boxes restricted mail.  It's mostly stuff she's held onto since their divorce back in 2000.  In the boxes is an itemized list of the contents.  She includes adoption paperwork and  copies of hateful letters from Bill's daughters demanding that he give them up for adoption to their mother's third husband.  Bill very briefly considers signing the papers, but then decides not to.

Over the next months, Ex tries to get Bill's father and stepmother mad at him.  SMIL calls Bill and tells him off.  She also tells him to keep me under control (because I sent Ex an email straightening her out and letting her know that my husband doesn't keep secrets from me).  He forwards them Ex's emails and the whole thing backfires on Ex when they realize she's been lying and/or stretching the truth.  At that point, Ex stops sending written communications to us.

November 2006- Ex has her fifth child.  Ex stepson and then girlfriend, later wife, and now ex wife (I understand) come to visit us in Virginia for Thanksgiving.  Ex pays for their plane tickets, probably because she wants to appear to be cooperative.  She acts like she's happy he's seeing us, but really, she's likely just trying to save face.

For the next few years, Bill pays his ex stepson child support and has regular email and phone communication with him.  The daughters refuse to speak to Bill at all.  At one point, Ex shows up at Bill's father and stepmother's house with the girls.  They were not invited, nor did they tell the in laws they were coming.  Nevertheless, FIL and SMIL are glad to see them and willingly put them up in their home.

January 2007-August 2007- Bill is participating in the war in Iraq.  He tries to make contact with the girls in case he dies over there.  Ex's response is to send Bill a children's book he used to read the girls at bedtime.  The theme is "forgiveness".  Bill sends it back to her because she needs it more than he does.

Bill tells his ex stepson that he can have his car because we're moving abroad and can only ship one at government expense.  While Bill is at war, ex stepson calls me and tries to demand that I let him have the car before Bill has come home.  I refuse, because the car needs work and isn't mine to give him.  I also don't want to have to deal with ex stepson and his buddies, especially since we're living on an Army post at the time.

August 2007- Bill goes to Tennessee with his car, which he gives to ex stepson free and clear.  Ex stepson doesn't know how to drive a manual shifting car.  His girlfriend has to teach him as they drive it to Arizona.

September 2007- We move to Germany.

Fall 2008- Purely by luck, I find a way to check what Ex and her clan are up to in the Arizona court system.  I find out all sorts of interesting stuff, like how husband #3 was arrested for animal abuse and ex stepson is busted for marijuana possession.

January 2009- Using the court Web site, which is free and public information, I discover that ex stepson, whose last name had been changed to Bill's, is planning to reclaim his original surname.  He doesn't tell Bill about his plans, but continues to demand child support.  At the time, he is 21 years old.  When Bill asks him about his plans, ex stepson responds with anger that Bill knows about it.  I guess his name change is not Bill's business.  Bill's job is to send money and STFU.

March 2009- Bill stops paying ex stepson child support because he doesn't tell Bill when his name change is final.  Ex stepson begs for $500 and promises never to "bother" Bill again.  He's planning a trip to China with his college buddies, but has maxed out his credit cards.  Bill is disgusted and offers to help ex stepson, but never hears from him.  Ex stepson goes to China during the summer.

July 2009- Bill tries to send his older daughter information about how to receive child support because she's turned 18.  Bill's letter gets returned to him.  He keeps it sealed in case she ever wants to know the truth about what he did when she became a legal adult.

September 2009- We move back to the States.

December 2011- Younger ex kid turns 18.  Bill stops paying child support, even though he was supposed to pay until she turned 22.  Divorce decree stipulates that he is to pay her directly under certain conditions.  Since she won't communicate, he has nowhere to send the money and she isn't meeting the conditions of being paid.

At some point in 2011, Ex and her clan move to New Hampshire.  We find out about it online.  Ex stepson also marries in 2011.  Again, we discover this online.  Based on Bill's most recent research, it looks like the marriage fell apart, although now ex stepson has a daughter.

In 2012, younger ex daughter, who had not been speaking to my husband's dad and stepmom, calls them.  Bill calls his dad on Christmas and gets to hear about how his daughter still hates him.  He comes into the house crying and his mother and I console him as we make plans to visit my sister for Christmas dinner.

November 2016- Younger ex daughter shows up as a "person Bill might know" on Facebook.  I am livid, because this comes up on our wedding anniversary.

May 2017- Younger ex daughter sends Bill her message.

Tell me... should I trust her?  Maybe she's not an asshole like her mother is, but I have my doubts.  But, as I've said many times, she isn't my child.  Bear in mind, too, that Bill has not seen this person since 2004.  I haven't seen her since her one and only visitation with us.

On a human level, I do have empathy for her situation.  On the other hand, we've already been burned by them many times.  I think I've mostly decided to try to stay out of it as much as possible.  Bill loves his daughters.  He always has.  I am the one who thinks of them as "exes" because of the horrible way they've treated him and others in his family and because they disowned Bill.  Bill is very kind and forgiving, though.  He'll give them a chance.  All I can do is sit by and watch...  and worry about all of the other stuff going on in our lives.  At this point, we don't even know if we're still going to be in Germany three months from now, nor do we know where we'll be going if we have to move.

But yeah, I knew this was coming...  I told Bill they weren't through with him (or really us, since this crap affects me, too).  Happily, he's now in a better position to prevent them from screwing him over again.

  

7 comments:

  1. Whoa, a lot has happened since Yerevan! Keep any letter or document that will support you if (when) they come after you for money. Make sure you get your wills sorted out sooner rather than later. And remember that the girls' brains aren't fully developed yet...there is a chance they will mature and break away from their crazy past. You might even like them one day.

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    1. The wills were taken care of when Bill went to Iraq. And we have all of their mother's emails and other hateful shit. I am way ahead of you.

      As for their brains... these two are both now grown women. They are not my kids. If they were my kids, I would be deeply ashamed of them. But since they are Bill's kids, I will let him deal with this shit and I will continue to process it in my writing.

      Believe it or not, I'm not as angry with them as I was even a few months ago, but they have a very long way to go before I'll want to have anything to do with them.

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    2. ...and... I'm sure they are just fine with that.

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  2. My husband was in a similar situation, but he was one of the children involved. And yes, I think you should leave the door open.

    His mother used them as pawns against his father. He would pick them up for a visit and his one brother would vomit in the car because whatever Mom had said to them about where they were going was someplace they couldn't go. Whatever she had said made them so fearful he was physically ill. This went on for *years* until Mom was moving to Florida with her "new husband". Dad & new wife decided they would move there too to be closer to the kids for visiting, even with how awful the visits were because of whatever abuse Mom was dishing out. My DH has blocked it out. Mom petitions the court for one year of child support in advance and gets it. She buys a new car with it (we only figure this out many, many years later). Everyone moves to Florida. Within a year, she's back in NY living with her parents because the marriage fell apart. She never tells their Dad. He is trying to find them and can't and the courts are no help. She doesn't try to collect any more child support and tells the kids their Dad abandoned him for his new wife.

    My DH happens to run into one of his uncles in NY. That's how his father found out they were back there. They didn't have contact, because of all the lies his mother had drilled into them. Then he met me. I was adopted and I hadn't yet reconnected with my birthmother. Long story, but we both wanted to meet and other people made the decision for us. I was still anxious at this time and had no resentment of her. That bled over into him and he started getting curious. I found his Dad on the computer including a phone number and gave it to him. Took a few months to get up the courage, but he called him.

    As time went on, they compared notes and it became very apparent what his mother had done. Still, out of the 3 boys my DH was the only one who ever talked to his Dad. We are still very close to his step-mother. His mother was bitter the entire time I knew her that my DH had a relationship with his father.

    So yes, I say keep a bridge open. You never know.

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    1. As far as I'm concerned, it's up to Bill. They are not my children. I have only met them once.

      Tonight, Bill showed me wedding pictures of his daughter. She definitely looks like Bill. Her older sister also looks more like Bill now than she did last time I saw a photo of her. And, for all I know, she's not like her mother. But she is truly a stranger to me. I have literally spent less than 48 hours with her. Her behavior, at this point, has been dreadful. So I will keep my guard up. Although... over the years, I have been there to wipe his tears.

      Bill will dialogue with her. We'll see what happens.

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  3. The actions of Bill's ex, her son from the prior marriage, and both daughters, as horrible as they are, are also very predictable and very explainable. The ex is certifiable and highy evil, but it's understanding that such a person would become very ugly when she did not get her way. The three offspring only know what they've been told. Still, somewhere down the road they became adults and thus responsible for their actions. The person's actions most egregious in the post-marital scenario (the abuse Bill suffered IN the marriage was another matter entirely) would have to be those of Bill's Stepmother. Some people just love to stir the pot, and she's certainly one of such people.

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    1. I am afraid that any relationship involving Bill's daughters will include/encourage their mother.

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