I am having some serious issues with my two oldest daughters and need some advice. I am 7+ years out from an ugly divorce that followed an even uglier marriage. He married a very wealthy woman almost 2 years ago. They live in her house and she rules the roost, according to my kids. In spite of the fact that he is nearly 60 and she is in her early 50s they just adopted a newborn girl. Crazy--right?
I have not seen or spoken to my ex in over 5 years. He was horrible to me and often to the children as well. I never speak of him with my girls and only respond minimally when they bring him up. He often treats them badly and rarely if ever helps them financially or any other way but will be nice to them if he wants them to do something for him. When they need something they come to me because I always answer the call. I feel like that's what parents do--help their kids. I'm happy to do it but increasingly I'm feeling very, very used and abused.
Two weeks ago my youngest came home for a visit; she had not been home since Christmas. The middle daughter announced that she wouldn't be home because she was accompanying her father and stepmother out of town so she could "nanny" the baby. I was not happy that of all weekends, this was the weekend they chose. Also important here is that my youngest stopped speaking to her father months ago because he was in a town close to where she lived and did not even bother to call her. When she called to ask for an explanation he told her she was a crazy drama queen. The same thing he always said to me when I would call him on his selfish behavior.
I felt my ex was manipulating my daughter into going because he knows she loves children and is very good with them. She didn't see it that way and somehow managed to make me the monster who "can't accept that she wants to help her father." This is the same child that I have spent thousands of dollars on to help her get on her feet; right now she is driving my car--which I still pay for.
I also do a TON for my oldest who is WAY old enough to quit asking me for help. I've helped her cook for her co-workers, stood in the freezing rain for hours helping her with fund raisers, let her live with me, given her my furniture, paid her car insurance--you get the picture. Yet a week ago when there was a huge grand opening of a new facility where she works--it was a BIG deal--she invited every other f-ing person she knew AND her father and stepmother and did not invite me because she "didn't think I'd want to go because her father would be there." I was SO hurt and told her so. She apologized but then basically put it back on me because she said "I never know how to navigate these things without hurting either you or my dad."
The bottom line is that their behavior toward me really isn't even about their dad--it's about them taking advantage of me and then when I call them on their behavior, blaming me because I have drawn a boundary regarding contact with my ex.
I'm so hurt and angry I haven't been able to see or speak to either one of them for a while--and that's just more ammunition for them to accuse me of being the bitter ex-wife who just can't get over it and make nice with their father and his new family so I'm punishing them.
This has happened over and over again but I think I reached my limit of tolerance. These are not immature or stupid young women. They know better. They were raised better.
The thought that I have to endure this for the rest of my life is enough to make my physically ill. Weddings, grandchildren, holidays---am I ALWAYS going to be the bad guy --- the "bitter" one? Am I just supposed to forget about all of the humiliating and mean things he did and act like it never happened?
I swear, if it wasn't for my youngest daughter I would jump off a bridge knowing that I raised such selfish, ungrateful children.
Do other adult children of divorced parents behave like this--shit all over the parent that is the constant in their lives, the one who does all the dirty work? Am I supposed to let them treat me this way if I want a relationship with them? I guess I should take a lesson from their father and be a douchebag--maybe that's what it takes for them to pay attention and give me a little respect. It seems to work for him.
If you've read this far, thank you. At least I've been able to vent here. My friends are sympathetic but they've just not walked a mile in my shoes like the people here.