Well, Well, Well...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    THe same old, same old has been going on, but it's getting tedious, so I haven't written anything. Since the last post about difficult child hallucinating, there's been one incident of difficult child getting around the alarms by the bedroom window. We found out because we went in and noticed they were turned off.

    How can he turn the alarms against the window off? Well, husband noticed if you go passed them very fast, they don't go off, and I tried picking them up from behind very slowly and found you could turn them off. WHile I was doing that I saw something shiney behind a radio on his desk. I looked and 2 steak knives and a pair of scissors. husband was standing there and said, "You knew right where they were."

    He says he doesn't think I planted them.


    Well, so on July 19 we drive him to military boot camp where he'll be for 3 weeks. Apparently husband didn't tell him he was going to a boot camp, I guess he led him to believe that it was just a regular sleep away camp. difficult child was not happy at the opening ceremony when the drill sargeant was laying it all out on the line, but...

    husband felt very bad that he misled difficult child but said he didn't want difficult child to worry about it for weeks in advance.


    So the first day difficult child is at camp, we come home from work and CPS is on our front step. Someone had called in and said they'd seen difficult child on the streets in the middle of the night, and that he'd been hanging out at the neighborhood drug house. They also said they've smelt alcohol on husband, and that stepdaughter is afraid of difficult child but isn't allowed to tell. The report said he'd been seen at night kicking cars and putting clothing in neighbors' garbage cans, been at the drug house also in the afternoon, and had other strange behavior such as staring. They also said difficult child had stolen knives, stabbed things and poured syrup in stepdaughter's room while she slept.

    The informant had a lot of specific info, and we are pretty sure it's the neighbor. Stepdaughter plays with their son, and she probably chattered about some of the events. The neighbor lady probably questioned her some (she'd been concerned about a year or two ago when difficult child would stand in the backyard and stare--but difficult child hasn't done that for a while). And the neighbor man is a detective and is often up at 3 and 4 in the morning and might have seen him.

    difficult child has not been hanging out at the local drug house. That house is burned out, has not electricity, is abandonned and the owner's druggie grandsons appear a few times a month for a couple hours for quiet drug parties. The local police know and watch the house, but the druggies are there so rarely they don't catch them. They are quiet, per other neighbors one or two have gone to jail for drugs.

    So while I believe difficult child might have been there once or twice, he doesn't hang out there. He had a small window of opportunity for about 3 months after school a half hour before I got home and he of course sneaks out at night but can't really spend much time anywhere because my teens are awake until 3 and 4 in the morning and I get up at 5:30 am.

    But someone has seen him outside in the middle of the night, and we now know where he got the drugs he took to school and then to summer camp. But husband still doesn't believe he goes out the window at night. husband thinks maybe the neighbor lady is the one who called the summer camp and reported he had drugs on him. And husband might be right about it. Perhaps one afternoon she saw difficult child with a handful of them while he was sitting on the bench in front waiting for me to get home.

    husband think she might have given them to him, she's a nurse, and then called summer camp because she wanted difficult child thrown out so he wouldn't be at camp with her son. I think difficult child got the drugs from a chance encounter or two with the druggies.

    Anyway, the CPS lady came, said she knew it was unfounded (we had her before on Dec 19 when she said we had to protect ourselves). She had to talk to all the kids, and was going to have the local cops by the military camp go talk to difficult child. We assured her we had alarms, husband said he didn't know how difficult child could possibly get out the window, and then climb back on the roof again, but we know my 14 year was doing it, and last year difficult child went to military school, did pushups everyday and carried boxes of rocks around and actually got awards for PT, so I think he can.

    The CPS lady said it's very common for kids like this to be able to get around the best security systems. When husband went out for a smoke and to pace, she explained to the cop who accompanied her that difficult child was a sociopath. husband came in and did admit to the drug possession and the knives and other behavior but also explained about the mental illness, the risperdal and lexapro, the therapy, the military school and now the summer boot camp.

    Stepdaughter was at gymnastics, so CPS lady followed me to the place and pulled stepdaughter out of class for about 2 minutes and spoke to her privately. Stepdaughter wasn't upset, she was most worried I was going to take her home early.

    The odd thing was when CPS lady got out of her car she had tears in her eyes and said how sorry she was, how bad she felt for us, and how she knew we were doing everything we could. We'd have 6 more years of this. She asked if he had a case manager? "From our insurance?" I asked. "No from Henderson." I told her Henderson wouldn't take us because...and she finished the sentence for me: "...because you have private insurance and they only take medicaid. You are screwed."

    Anyway she assured me that she'd alrady closed the case and we had nothing to worry about and left.

    Fine, great.

    Then today...

    husband comes home and there's a summons. difficult child is being charged with delinquincy and 3rd degree felony possession of drugs without a prescription.

    "I don't understand," husband said, "The cops didn't arrest him, they said there was something odd about the whole situation. They let him go."

    Yes, well, they didn't arrest him, but they did write a report, and what could the report say: they got a complaint that a kid had drugs on him, they found drugs on him, they released him to his father rather than arrest him because of mitigating circumstances.

    husband is currently mad at me because I'm not supporting him. (nevermind I can't remember a time when he's been supportive of me, nope, he throws me under the bus where his son and mother are concerned, and minimizes any upset I might feel).

    My crime? I told my son, the one who accepted the subpoena, what the subpoena was for. He wants to keep it a secret. Why should the other kids in the family know? BS to that.

    The other thing I said before I knew the full story that difficult child was being charged with a 3rd degree felony, but after husband told me that difficult child was being charged with delinquency: "This could be could, as a delinquent maybe the court can order services for him."

    WHen I found out they were charging him with a felony, I said, "That's bad." I've always said it would be terrible if difficult child went to Juvvy, he's a skinny whitefaced red haired white boy. His last probation officer said: "They aren't going to be able to protect you all the time." He'll go for 45 days and come back more damaged than he went.

    But husband is accusing me of being gleeful, running instantly to gloat with my son and being happy that maybe he'll be sent away now. Not true. This is very serious, and is going to be expensive, and aggravating and this is his 4th time before the court for a felony.

    But husband wants me to be a bad guy. He's feeling very sorry for himself that I'm not supporting him. I said, what would support feel like to you right now. What can I do?

    He blew me off, and I said, Well, I asked how to support you and you blew me off, so...

    My guess is support to him means figuring out ways to 'get difficult child off', strategizing on how to present things, what lies to tell, how to minimize, how to cover it up and divert, swearing up hill and down dale that difficult child has his troubles but he would never do this, he must have been set up. I'm not going there.

    But I will be at court, whether husband wants me or not, because husband is not going to say, "Well, we have teens in the house and maybe one of them..." Nope, I'll be jumping right up and speaking out, with my CPS reports and my behavior log and my copy of the picture difficult child drew of him stabbing and jumping on his sister.

    And then I'll go home and tell my atty to file the divorce papers. He's thrown me under the bus dozens of times with his enmeshed family and clingy mother, he's undermined me with difficult child on some occasions, but he is not, and will never be allowed to pass difficult child's behavior off on my nice kids.

    Court date is Aug 10.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Wow. I don't know how long the two of you have been married but I can't imagine putting up with the things you've put up with for any length of time. I'm glad you're getting out of there with your kids before something REALLY big happens. I hope that your husband opens his eyes where his son is concerned so that kid can get some real help. As for you, I'd say you've done all you could and you're fighting against the tide. Good luck!
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh wow.

    My first thought was that the CPS involvement could be a good thing for you -- finally an outside authority to challenge husband's perception of all this and perhaps set him straight.

    But you're right about the felony being a huge problem. I have absolutely zero experience with the judicial and penal system, but if they haven't given him services before with the other charges, can he really expect to be granted them now? Was a psychiatric evaluation ever conducted in the past through the courts? If not, is there any way to have that mandated, considering his age and considering the supposed diagnoses he now has, not to mention the behaviors?

    You are absolutely right to defend yourself and your kids from anyone who tries to shift blame inappropriately. Even if it means leaving.

    I'm so sorry you are placed in this mess and looking at the prospects of having to choose.

    I'll be curious to hear how difficult child survives bootcamp.

    Sending major, major hugs, dear.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Another thought because I know you worry about your step daughter. Do you think your husband would let you have visits? Or her mother? Either way, I would make sure she knows how to reach you at any time if she ever needs to.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son got a felony at age 12yo. It's not the end of the world. This can open doors to some services, albeit they aren't necessarily the best ones for him. I, too, have had the royal shaft from not having my son on medicaid.

    Anyway, it sounds to me that the bigger issue is the marriage- at least for you. If you're getting out then it's husband's problem to deal with his son.
  6. WSM

    WSM New Member

    My stepson got his first felony at age 9 (took a realistic looking bb gun to school), his second at 10 (took a carving knife to school), his third at 11 and one month (took a paring knife to school), and a month later took a razor blade to school but managed to talk himself out of trouble by claiming I threw him onto the ground and jumped on his back then picked him up by his hair right off his feet. Instead of to jail, they took him to a forensic doctor who specializes in child abuse and within two minutes the doctor discounted it and was asking about his psychiatric history.

    He's gotten the 'diversion' program which means group therapy with a bunch of other kids who are 15 and 16 and learning about things like huffing (dad, what's huffing?) and the dangers of sexually acting out. He also had to do community service but was too young to be in their formal program that puts kids into nursing homes and stuff so he got credit for cleaning his room, etc...
  7. WSM

    WSM New Member

    He'll do fine, he is TOUGH for all he goes through life with a wounded puppy dog act.

    This is the letter we got from him (sic):

    Dear Dad, I would like to know sevral things. Why did you pack me a come when you know I'm getting my hair cut? How come you packed me a water bottle when were getting k-teens sence this is a military Boot camp?? (boot camp underlined twice). You told me this is not a boot camp but it is you told me to trust youn and I did and this is what happened why should I trust you know. But the food here is good, we get to swim and I has sargent remeres and lt which are the best there is here.

    At the bottom is a stick figure kid with a big smile and two arrows pointing at him: one arrow says bald, one arrow says happy.
  8. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Her mother is a homeless street person who lives about 10 months of the year in psychosis wandering the streets mumbling to herself. She gets picked up about twice a year for shoplifting or trespassing, put into the hospital, shot up with drugs, released to a halfway house which she escapes, then wanders around again. SHe and two of her brothers are severely schizophrenic, altho her official diagnosis is bipolar.

    No, he would not let me see stepdaughter. He would sink back into his dysfunctional family run by his neurotic mother who has the emotional capacity of a three year old and lives in a fantasy world where she's the perpetual vicitim and everyone is required to make it up to her or else they are considered 'mean' and have to be punished, mostly via family rejection and verbal abuse. I pretty much ran her out of our lives and she HATES me (oh well,that's what happens when you tell your daughter in law that she better please you or you will ruin her relationship with her husband. Some DILs might be cowed, some like me will call the bluff).

    But husband misses her and more specifically his brothers who keep him at arms length because he 'divorced mom just like dad did'. So husband would high tail it home, appease mommy by giving her the kids (she believes difficult child is only a problem because his has a stepmother) and live in happy oblivion until his mother died, kids left home and he suddenly realized he was the third wheel in his brother's marriage and lost all his opportunities.

    I have to reconcile that when I leave, I will never see her again. Also when I leave I will leave with a lot of people informed about her situation, CPS, her GALs, her school principal, etc... That will burn any bridge there might be left.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are doing what to have to do. I do feel sorry for stepdaughter. She is the forgotten one here. Maybe, when you call CPS, you can tell them that, if they allow it, you would be willing to take custody of her. I'd tell them everything, including (ESPECIALLY) how she isn't allowed to tell anybody about the abuse. That's one reason abused kids never get out of the house--they are threatened into silence and are afraid. Maybe, because you do have a relationship with her and his family is all mentally ill, they WILL give you contact with her. It can't hurt to try.
    It's scary how husband would possibly throw your own kids under the bus to save his sick son. I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't in some way psychopathic as well. Maybe let somebody you trust, possibly a kind teacher from school district's school, know where you are so there's a way school district can get in touch with you if the abuse worsens--that way you can again call CPS. Other than that, I don't see what you can do for the poor little kid.
    Keep us posted. You're making good decisions. (((Hugs)))
  10. crabby erin

    crabby erin New Member

    WOW! I'm not sure I could deal with a husband who is in straight denial. It does no one, most of all the child, any good.

    I hate to say this, but I got a little teary at the letter difficult child wrote. He is, after all, a child who was dealt an unfair hand apparently at the beginning.

    You do need to get you and your kids and step daughter out of the house before something bad happens.

    Have you ever tried turning over custody of difficult child to the state? I'm sure husband won't go for that.

    Bless you and your family.
  11. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Hopefully everything you do upon leaving will help your step-daughter. I just can't imagine a father putting his 8 year old daughter in her position. But then again, I can't comprehend why people do the things they do to their kids sometimes. I wish the laws were so that you could take her with you but my prayers will go out for her.

    Again, I think you have and are doing all you can and I hope something, anything good can come out of this situation. Hugs.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey! Listen - there is a Federal Cell Phone program out there that gives you a free cell phone for emergencies. While I don't know the name it got me thinking. Why not check with your local abused womans shelter and see if they can hook step daughter up with one. You can program your cell number/new home phone number into it and she can contact you ANY TIME!

    Once you and husband get ready to split, take her out for a girl time fun day and talk with her extensively. Let her know that you'll be accessible 24/7 if she needs you. Let her know that you'll show up with the police if you have to if she's in danger. Have her discuss this whole thing with her guidance counselor at school.

    Now, if you want my advice on the medicaid thing, go and apply for medicaid waiver for difficult child. It might allow him to access different programs etc. It might be able to help document the goings on for your step daughter.

    Also, re: the abused womans shelter may have a program for kids/teens that are being abused (by family, boyfriends, etc.). You may be able to get her into something like that so that she'll have somewhere safe to reach out to. I'm thinking if she learns to trust someone there, she'd be more apt to reach out.

    Good luck and keep us close -

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    When I read your post I was almost hopeful that CPS would intervene on your step-daughter's behalf...but that would have been wishful thinking. I am sorry that things are continuing to escalate and spiral out of control... I hope that you can get some relief.

  14. crabby erin

    crabby erin New Member

    It's ridiculous that it is so hard to get help! Even with Medicaid, I had to end up signing my son back over to the state! I can't imagine what it would be like with private insurance. Maybe you could apply for disability, get denied because of income, but still have him declared disabled and then work the medicaid thing...I don't know, just thinking aloud.....and without husband support, none of it can be done anyway....

    I'm just feeling for you....:(
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe because I was badly verbally battered as a kid, I have a sick fetish for reading books by abused kids who overcame it--books besides just "A Child Called It" which made me cry. There are many children like Dave Pelzer who never told anyone because they were frightened into silence by their abuser, because those they did seek out did NOT help them (in fact often believed the parents that the child was making up stories) or because the abusive parent ran with the child before anything could be done. The main reason the kids don't get help is that they are afraid to tell anyone outside the family about their secrets and because social services fails them. If you, an adult, tell all husband's guilty secrets to CPS and the cops (I'd do both) then tell them that school district is silenced by her father, that could help her. If father is with her, she will not say anything. They can't charge him with anything or help her if she won't rat him out. Maybe you can somehow sit with her during an interrogation. You need to tell her that you will back her up if she talks. Her father is letting her be abused by this animal brother of hers and he isn't going to stop and her father isn't going to help her. In fact, I'd guess he'd blame her for "setting your brother up." He's already kind of implied that. I have several books you can read if you PM me where the abused child absolutely feels trapped and, even to a social worker, lies for her family because she is just a child and her father has warned her not to say anything to outsiders. They usually don't get out until their late teens, and then they have all the baggage to deal with plus not trusting anybody because nobody helped them. You can do a lot more leaving than you can staying. You can speak loudly in behalf of this poor little girl. The degree of extreme mental illness in the family is scary. Nobody is a safe caregiver to her.
    I don't feel sorry for the boy. He's just playing games with his dad. For a child, he is--you hate to say it--almost evil. It's chilling. You can't really do anything for him. Dad won't allow it and denies he needs any help, and he isn't being abused. He's doing most of the abusing himself. If Dad wanted to give his son one last try at help--if he's not beyond it yet--he would try an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but he won't. Try to help the daughter. She's the only one who still has a prayer.
    Take care. Keep us updated.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wasn't aware that your step-son had those previous arrests and convictions. I thought he had gotten caught for those things but had not actually been convicted in court for them. It varies a lot from state to state but the next time he is arrested, his father can stand up during court and tell the judge- actually he should call the prosecuting attny beforehand and make it clear, too- that the child needs a stiffer punishment and needs an out-of-home placement- actually this child would probably benefit from committal to state Department of Juvenile Justice. (I never thought I would say that. LOL!) If he tells all involved legal people the truth about it all it would help. They were going to send my home son this time- even the prosecuting attny was going along with it- but I told them no. (I seriouslly doubt the judge would have allowed that though.) That was very risky, especially since I have a family member who wants custody of my son, but I knew it wasn't the right answer. That doesn't mean the judge will rule that way but it helps to make it clear to the judge that the kid is getting worse or whatever.

    But again, it really sounds more like husband would never do this and the marriage is all but over. I must have missed this in a different thread but given how you feel about living with your H, why haven't you moved out already? Is there a reason you are waiting to file for a divorce? Justified or not, it sounds like there is so much animosity between you and H and difficult child that the household must be a hostile environment for everyone and I can't see anything improving until that is dealt with, even if the only way to deal with it is by you moving out.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
  17. WSM

    WSM New Member

    husband is actually starting to get a clue. He always flip-flopped between seeing difficult child exactly as he is to being in complete denial and hugely defensive. I think part of the problem is when he does see what the deal is with difficult child, he hasn't a clue as to what to do about it, so he shuts down. Plus he grew up in a family where everyone believed or made themselves believe in certain family myths and rules such as outsiders are trouble, never tell, we need each other to survive, always keep mom pacified, a lie we all agree on is as good as the truth and easier, if you disappoint the family you are bad and mean and unworthy, etc...

    Other times he's right on the button. When he took difficult child to the psychiatric hospital and they didn't want to take him because he wasn't in crisis, husband came through and told them every brutal thing and got him admitted. But he flip-flops, and it's awful.

    Early in June I saw a lawyer. husband knows this. He was shocked. His parents had a horrible marriage and I think he just expects ours not to be good. He came up with a plan to save the marriage, and we joined a marriage builders type community. We work through the principles and discuss our issues with the support group.

    At first the support group was really hostile to me: How can you make him choose between his wife and his mother? How can you be so heartless about his son? But after a while they saw more and now they are jumping all over him. "I'd hate my mother in law too if she hit me in the face; in fact I'd hate my mother if she hit my spouse in the face--why don't you hate your mother?'' "Umm you aren't being told to ignore your mother, you are being told you have to put your wife first, that's NOT the same thing." "You are lying, you are being manipulative, you are being dishonest, you are being selfish." "Other people in your family matter too, not just you and difficult child."

    And he's shocked. He was ssoooooooooooooo sure everyone would see it all his way, and they aren't. And the marriage building principles support me. Last week he agreed maybe he'd look into putting difficult child somewhere more therapeutic. He said he had to do it to save his marriage. I said, nope, don't do it for me; as long as you support the safety measures I decide, it won't matter to me whether he's home or away (at this time). But I didn't want difficult child to leave home because of me and then hear for the rest of my life about how I chased the poor little boy out of his home and ade husband loose his son just like I made him lose is family (actually his family rejected him once I insisted on normal boundaries with his mother, like don't just move in for months at a time. But he has a hard time accepting that they rejected him and believes because of the family myths that he deserved it and I made them reject him, like my saying no to his mom triggered inevitable rejection).

    So this group is a huge shock to him. And the fact that most of the people in the group are men is a good thing.

    So last night after I asked husband how I could support him and he blew me off and I just left him to stew, he came around. He started reading about the dept of juvy justice and children in need of services petitions. He brought them to me and asked me to read them. I'd been through them years ago.

    Last time difficult child was convicted, the state Atty General sent him a letter saying that if he were convicted of one more crime, felony or misdemeanor, he was going to the detention center, it was mandatory. I think husband thinks difficult child is going to juvy for a few months, because those drugs were on him, he didn't have a prescription, he was at summer camp and however some of the circumstances might seem strange, facts is facts, and he is probably going to be found guilty. And he's in great risk of going at age 12 to juvvy. ANd it's out of husband's hands now.

    Probably. THe system is so messed up and nobody wants to send a polite, scared looking, skinny little kid to juvenile detention with the gang members and thugs and druggies who are all years older than him. My guess is the judge will do something else with him. I'm hoping the judge will send him to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and I think now husband is thinking an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is starting to look like a good alternative as well.

    So we'll see.

    I don't know if husband willl throw my kids under the bus to save difficult child, I only thought it was about a 15% chance possibility, but that's enough to be there. husband feels outraged that the police let difficult child go, said it was strange, didn't arrest him, suggested there was something happening in his own household, and then turned around and charged difficult child with a 3rd degree felony. But of course the police didn't. They made their report and that report was matched up with all the other crappe in the system about difficult child and some prosecutor made the decision.

    ANd now difficult child and husband are going to have to live with the consequences.
  18. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I may have missed something here, but I want to ask... is there a reason you didn't use this CPS report as an opening to tell the whole story of what is going on, from your perspective? Is it a timing issue? It seems to me it might have gotten the ball rolling, finally ... but I know this is a complicated situation.
  19. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Reality has a way of straightening things out.

    I'm so glad to hear your husband has been going to the group therapy with you and that there a lots of MEN there to dole out a healthy dose of reality to your husband. He NEEDS that.

    I don't know if you've read about the various disordered thought processes, but here's a link that was very helpful for me in figuring out the insanity I've had to deal with over the years with my own husband and others in my family:


    I can hear hope in your posts that the marriage can be salvaged. I can completely understand having one foot in and one foot out. You really are on the cusp of some major changes and a lot will depend on how husband handles this next go-round with difficult child and the judicial system. Hold firm to what you need to be healthy in your own life, and I know we will all pray for the "right" things to happen everywhere else.

  20. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I give it about a 25% chance of working. It really falls into the realm of too little too late. I don't know how he can change a lifetime of thinking in a few months. Since he was a baby he believed that it was really, really, really bad to upset his mother, that it was his job to keep her placated, at all costs, that everyone was happier when she was happy, and thus it was selfish to upset her...course she's upset all the time because hard as she wants it the world really doesn't revolve around her widdle feelings, and like any two year old, she throws a mighty tantrum when it doesn't.

    It's only natural that he falls into the pattern of excusing and placating difficult child. It works to keep his mom settled down so the rest of them can have a life, so why wouldn't it work with difficult child. Besides he doesn't know what to do. If someone told him to cut off his arm and difficult child would be normal, he'd do it. But to do things like imposing consequences that make difficult child hate him and reject him, that's the punishment his mother used and he's just so sensitive to it. Oddly enough he's not so worried about my rejection. I'm not sure how you get on the "Important Enough to Care About" list with him. I'm not sure how much I care.

    I did almost leave in Sept 2005 and he was shocked. Gee dude, your mother hit me in the face and all you said was--not OMG, not I'm so sorry, not are you all right--but you said, She must have felt cornered. When I told him I was leaving, he was SHOCKED and panicked. His parents hated each other, so what kind of a model of marriage did he have.

    And with his infantile neurotic mother and rejecting critical father, what kind of parenting example did he have? I don't know that **I** could parent difficult child effectively, although I know absolutely I would have been aggressive much earlier about treatment and training and getting help.

    And I'm tired. I'm in my eff-you forties, and I just don't want to put up with **** anymore. Notice how difficult child has been out of the house for a week and a half and he's STILL causing trouble? I want a more harmonious life.

    husband might get a clue fast about difficult child. He'd been drifting more and more into denial about difficult child, but he always knew underneath...it was just easier to pretend, to grasp the slightest sliver of doubt (difficult child couldn't possibly climb back up to the roof to get back in so he can't be going out at night), just like it's easier to eat the cookie rather than stay on the diet.

    The problem is stepdaughter. She's normal and sweet and if I left, even if husband and difficult child were perfectly wonderful people, she'd be devastated that her mother abandonned her. I've been in her life since she was 4. She calls me mommy. How would you feel if your mother had just left when you were 9, disappeared out of your life and never called, wrote, sent gifts, visited? Just left. Never to be seen again. Remember her biomom calls about 3 times a year, makes huge promises, then disappears. I'm mommy.

    And I'm not happy with what I'm leaving her to. difficult child will soon be running the family and mother in law will move in for months at a time. Stepdaughter's naturally want-to-please personality will be swamped with their neediness. husband will collapse back into subservient codependency with mother in law and difficult child, who will battle one another via victimhood for family supremacy. husband will be torn between them and stepdaughter will be dragged down into supporting husband's needs as he struggles to appease difficult child and mother in law and mediate between them. She will be told she's not to complain and not to have her own needs (this already happens on occasions when it's school district vs difficult child). husband figures it's noble to make her sacrifice a bit if it 'saves' difficult child...his problems are so big, everyone just needs to 'give him a break'.

    Will difficult child hurt her? I don't know. It depends on whether or not his mental illness is controlled or levels off and whether or not he's satisfied by being reigning prince and stops targetting her. He will expect her to put his needs first and will set her up to be the fall guy in his life, and mother in law will have great needs of school district constantly reassuring her that she's the best granma in the whole world. And husband will confide in her and enlist her to help with his difficult relatives.

    Of course the worst case is that husband lives in la-la land and difficult child wants to hurt school district and does. difficult child's not a fool, he won't hurt her bad enough to draw attention, but buly and pick on her and make her life miserable. And husband will be blind.

    Anyways, that's my nightmare. Even in the best case scenario, I leave and husband steps up and becomes a good, sensitive, protective, nurturing father (and he can be, he's sensitive, protective, and nurturing of his mother and difficult child), she still has to deal with the fact that her mother just abandonned her.