I feel like this constantly. I feel like I am always the one to compromise, which really ends up being me giving up to keep peace. I don't want to live this way any more. I can't stand the constant arguing. I can't talk to my husband because he immediately gets defensive and all we do is fight. Our parenting philosophies are too different to manage a child who is in a really difficult phase right now. I'm so overwhelmed and out of my depth.
I can't make any of this form a coherent paragraph so please forgive the stream of consciousness style of writing. I simply don't have enough time to really sit down and think this out. I'm living in a constant state of reacting and it is really wearing me down.
The fighting between M and S (my husband - I really need nicknames) is constant. They argue about every damn little thing. If I try to intervene they both ignore me. I swear they both just like to fight. It is making life hell for me and my other daughter. It's not much fun for S either. He was crying today after M telling him she was going to run away. He says she hates him and just treats us as a foster family so she can go back to her birth mother when she is 18. He refuses to listen to what I have learned about foster adoption. He takes everything she says personally and believes that every argument is about how much his kids hate him. I keep telling him, over and over (after commiserating and gentle nudging didn't work) that if he wants something to change he has to do something different. He won't read books. He won't go to therapy. Now after we fought so hard to get her meds reduced he wants to increase the dose again. He is looking for an easy fix and refuses to listen that there isn't one. I am convinced that conventional parenting is useless with M, but he thinks that means I am going to just let her do whatever she wants. I can't win because if I try what I think will work he accuses me of undermining him and not treating the kids the same. Both of those are actually true sometimes but I am trying really, really hard to keep from doing that. Sometimes I just feel like I HAVE to tell him he is going too far, and the kids are 9 years apart and from vastly different backgrounds - it seems kind of inevitable that I would treat them differently. I am so wrong about that?
Today we really got into it because he had told M that he could take her things away if she didn't want to follow the rules. She said she would like to see him try and he of course laid down the law. Later he said to me (M was asleep) that if she put her ipod in her shirt to keep us from taking it, he would hold her and I would fish it out. I told him there was no way in hell I was going to do that. I said that is way too damn close to sexual assault (which is a possible experience in her past, but even so I wouldn't do that to any teenage girl) and he just didn't get it. He said I was just going to let her get away with keeping what we said we would take. It just went on from there. I tried to keep it a civil conversation and bring up our parenting differences in a way that would help us come up with a common goal. Instead we just fought, like always. He won't even read the books that I reference but is convinced that my way is letting the kids get away with murder. What kills me is that I've shown him blog entries from Christine and Last Mom and he has agreed with what they say - but in practice he just won't do it. I don't get it. I don't know what to do about it. Today I just want to run away and let them sort it out. I just can't imagine how much worse this is going to get when the baby gets here.
I keep telling S that we were warned M's behaviors would get worse after adoption. We were told about the honeymoon period and the testing phase. I think we are very firmly in the testing phase, where we should be ignoring bad behaviors (to an extent) and offering unconditional love, but he just thinks we should be more strict. I know that doesn't work. It didn't work on me and it didn't work on my siblings. The more you push a pissed off teenager, the less they will listen or learn. That is just the way it is. I know we can parent without these constant battles but only if we work together and that just seems impossible right now.
I have refused to set up family counseling because I am ALWAYS the one who takes care of everything and I always have to bully S into cooperating. Hence my title. I am going to do this because if I don't I think this family will break, but I know I will break first. At the same time it feels like adding one more burden (finding a counselor and getting everyone there) will be the last straw and I will break anyway. I feel trapped in a situation where I can't win. I don't mean win as in I get my way, just that we end up happier in the end. It feels like I am the only one interested in fixing the problems between S and M. Maybe I should just let the situation implode but I can't stand living this way. The reason I left home as fast as I could (and ran away so often before that) was because I couldn't deal with the constant fighting I grew up with. Now I am right back in that and I am getting to the point of gnawing off my leg to get away.
I haven't had time to myself in months, since before I got pregnant. I've sneaked away for shopping and errands by myself a couple of times, but that is hardly relaxing, and when I get back all I hear about is how much the kids hate him and don't care when he's gone. I can't figure out how to get time for myself because I am afraid to leave him alone with the kids. I know he won't hurt them but things always seem to be worse when I'm not here, and I'm not so sure M won't hurt someone or herself. Something has to give. I was out of my fucking mind to risk a high-risk pregnancy with all this going on. When I said I'd give anything to have a living baby, I didn't really mean my family.
Oh, little dragon, I hope there is a family left for you to be born into.