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Blended Families

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  • #963304 Reply

    Hi. My dad has always been there for me no matter what. My parents divorced when I was 4. I do not see my mom very much anymore. I live with my dad. My dad has had a girlfriend named A for about 9 years now. She has been living with us for about 8 years. My dad and A have had 4 children together making them my half siblings. I absolutely adore them and love them so so much. I also have a full sister named Grace. My dad’s girlfriend also has a son who is older than me from her previous relationship. The problem is that A might be bipolar along with a narcissist. She gets extremely mad at the tiniest things that aren’t even a problem and will blow up and get mad at everyone for about 3-5 days. She has hit people, yelled, and destroyed items in the household before while being mad over nothing. When I was a smaller kid she would get mad and yell insults at me before telling me how horrible I was for at least at hour at a time. She did this from when I was about 7 until 12. When I was 12 I became suicidal because of what she was saying. Since we all live together, my 4 half siblings (who are all very young), and Grace have been picking up her bad habits from her mental problems. They are all mimicking her behavior along with her other bad qualities. My dad is almost always at work and doesn’t know what to do right now since they are not technically married. If he tries to break up with her, she is going to make a huge deal out of it and demand money and he doesn’t want to lose his children. I feel like I have failed because I am the second oldest of all of the children and I have allowed my siblings to be raised this way. I don’t know what to do because I don’t have the ability to leave the house because I am not old enough and I am not old enough to work at most places. My 5 younger siblings are behaving like her in terms of screaming and yelling and breaking things when they are mad just like her. The younger ones are being spoiled and aren’t hitting milestones that they should have such as talking, potty training, and they aren’t eating healthy either. If I were to try to intervene and help, my dad’s girlfriend will get mad at me and I don’t want to have that happen in front of my siblings. I failed them. I don’t know what to do. Anything anyone has to say would be greatly appreciated.

    #963306 Reply
    avatarAndrea Letsen

    Hello Emily. I’ll start by saying you absolutely have not failed anyone. The only failure in this situation lies with your father and his partner. It is A’s responsibility to get a grasp on her behaviour and create a loving, calm and safe environment for the children in the family to be raised in, as well as to curb her own bad behavioural habits so her children don’t pick up on them <- she has failed at this.

    Your father has failed in the respect that he has not protected you nor any of his other children from this behaviourally unstable woman, and from what you have said, failed to remove you all from the toxicity of the environment that she has caused. ‘A’ making a huge deal out of him ending the relationship, or demanding money etc shouldn’t be an excuse for him keeping his children around her. I say this with as much possible respect that I can afford your father – but that is just an excuse so he doesn’t have to make the hard decisions and go through with them. As a result, you and your siblings continue to suffer because the alternative is too inconvenient for him. That is his failure.

    You have not failed at all. You are one of the children in this situation, albeit one of the oldest, but still a child. It is NOT your responsibility to fix the issues that have arose in your family environment. Do not burden yourself with guilt that does not belong to you.

    Have you tried speaking with a school counsellor/therapist about the issues at home? They can be very useful in offering techniques for you to utilise in keeping yourself calm and sane in the face of ‘A’s outbursts. Do you have any family outside of the home that you may be able to speak to about the problems? Could they possibly offer you a place to stay when things get really bad?

    Assuming your father is a reasonable and caring man, have you considered talking to him about this in depth and explaining how unhappy you are in the home, and asking what is going to be done to remedy the situation? Your childhood and that of your siblings shouldn’t be sacrificed because the adults in the situation cannot be bothered to do what needs to be done.

    You are not to blame. None of your siblings are to blame. The blame lies solely with the adults who are meant to have the mental and emotional maturity to rectify such problems. You are dealing with enough already, please don’t put that burden on yourself as well.

    #963320 Reply

    You are absolutely not at fault here. You do not have any means to control an adult, let alone one that is playing a parental role to you.

    What you can do is control your reactions and establish your boundaries. You can say to your siblings that their behavior is not acceptable and they can not speak to you that way or be cruel on purpose. You can model the behavior you find acceptable. You are allowed to say to the people around you – calmly and matter of factly – “I understand you are frustrated/angry/sad/frightened/stressed but I am not here to be your punching bag. Treat me with the same kindness and compassion I show you.” then leave the room or the house for a little while to give people time to cool off.

    #963324 Reply

    Please stop feeling guilty for your siblings. If you can, talk to your dad and tell him how volatile she is, and how the kids are now mimicking her behavior. He doesn’t have to leave her to solve this, but he does need to actually do something, anything as that’s his responsibility as a father. Ask him for help.

    I think the above advice about establishing boundaries for yourself is really good.

    I assume you’re under 16 years old. Is there anything you can do to stay out of the line of fire? You can’t work a normal job, but you could possibly become a babysitter or something right? As long as you are completing all of your schoolwork, that might be a good way to get out of the house. You could even look into volunteering for a local charity. No, you don’t get paid, but it looks good on your resume and could lead to a paying job.

    You are not an adult responsible for parenting the other children. You’re also just a kid. Please don’t feel guilty for how poorly your dad and his gf are handling this. They are the responsible parties, not you. Sometimes you have to look out for yourself above anything else.

    I grew up in a house with an angry, volatile parent. I stayed out of the house as much as possible and moved out as soon as I could. I have always felt badly about leaving my sibling behind, but I also know it was the only choice I could really make. I had to get out.

    Good luck, Emily.

    #963325 Reply

    Your father is being a coward. Has A always been this way? If she only started acting like this after birthing 4 kids in a short amount of time she needs to see a psychiatrist. You have zero control over the situation and its heartbreaking. Let everybody know how bad it is. Be vocal about the damage that is being done to you and your siblings. Its out of your control so it is absolutely out of your responsibility. Do your best to be self supporting as quickly as you can and make your exit plan from that house. You deserve a peaceful home

    #963326 Reply

    Dear Emily, definitely speak of your family’s problems with the school psychologist. Request for their help with mediating the situation with your father and his girlfriend.
    You can also ask to be removed from their place and be at an other house: can you live with your mom? Why don’t you see her anymore so much? Or an other family member? Or at a very good friend’s house? At least for a while? You are soon 18, right?
    You have zero responsibility for this situation, the adults failed you, but you do have some options to ask for help, ask for a change in the situation at home, at if it doesn’t get better, ask for a change of custody.
    Start with the school psychologist. Good luck, you are brave!
    And the best way to help your siblings is to call for help, as you all are victim of an unstable environment.

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