Girl Gone Authentic: Step-Parenting is Challenging Enough Without a Psycho Ex-Spouse (Part 1)

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

WARNING: Vulgar language in this post

I knew that being a stepmom would be challenging. I watched the issues my own stepmom encountered with a couple of my siblings (I was already 18 when I met my stepmom), so I didn’t expect it to be a cakewalk. However, I was thoroughly unprepared. It wasn’t so much the chjld herself as it was the baby mama, AKA the psycho ex-spouse. I’ll call her the PES for short in this blog.

I am also a “baby mama” because my oldest son has a stepmom. She and I got along just fine while my son was growing up, so I assumed I would have a similar relationship with my bonus daughter’s biological mother. I was not trying to replace the child’s birth mom, so I thought that we would at least be civil toward each other. How naïve I was!!!

I was with David for a couple of months before I met his our daughter (I now think of her as one of my kids, just as if I gave birth to her), who was four years old when I met her. For the sake of this blog, I will refer to her as “Elizabeth” (to protect her identity).

I was nervous because the PES was forcing me to meet Elizabeth at her place of residence (she lived with one of her friends). It was one of the most awkward days of my life. David and I were sitting on one couch with Elizabeth on his lap, and the PES and her friend were sitting on the other couch, staring at us. The PES seemed nice enough at the time, even though David had told me that she was “psycho, “insane,” and “crazy,” and to not trust a single thing that came out of her mouth. I assumed that he was exaggerating for my benefit; once again, I was so naïve!

We got through it, and a couple of weeks later we started having Elizabeth over every other weekend. Things started out okay. I found that Elizabeth and I got along very well. It was weird having a young child around the house (my youngest biological child was 12 years old), but I quickly adapted.

About a month after I met Elizabeth, the PES told David that if he didn’t break it off with me, he would be sorry. He showed me the text messages that she sent to him, so I know this to be the case. Even though she was the one to end the marriage, and she was already carrying on with a man she met on the Internet, she was quite angry that he and I were dating. He didn’t break up with me, and then the PES announced that she and Elizabeth would be moving to Indiana to live with the man she met online. This was my first clue that the PES may be exactly how he described her. Who makes a knee-jerk reaction to move halfway across the country, taking a child away from her father, because she’s mad at her ex-spouse, who SHE left in the first place?

She promised that she would send Elizabeth to spend the summer with David, so even though his heart was breaking, he didn’t fight the PES. He didn’t even know he could stop her from doing this, so he let it happen. The last visit we had with Elizabeth, we tried to cram as much fun into it as possible. When we took her back to the PES, it was devastating. David was a wreck, Elizabeth was sobbing hysterically, begging to stay with her daddy, etc.

After they moved in late April 2011, David called the PES on a regular basis to talk to Elizabeth. Most of the times he called, she would say that Elizabeth was not home, was sleeping, etc. Basically, she was doing her best to destroy the relationship between David and Elizabeth, which I couldn’t understand. I would NEVER have tried to get between my kids and their father, and I was having extreme difficulty understanding a woman who would do this.

The PES sent me a text a few weeks after they moved. She told me that there was no way she was sending Elizabeth to visit David because David never called to talk to Elizabeth. I knew this was bullshit, because I was usually in the room when he called the PES. She then told me that the reason she threw him out was that he was a “raging alcoholic” and she couldn’t deal with it any longer. I also knew this was crap, because I’d been living with him for months, and the only time he drank to excess was the night that the PES took their daughter to Indiana.

One of the cruelest things that the PES did to him took place on Father’s Day in 2011, while they were still in Indiana. She texted him the day before Father’s Day to tell him that things weren’t working out for her in Indiana and that she and Elizabeth would be moving back to Sacramento. He was thrilled. For the rest of the day, he was so happy. He was talking about the things that he wanted to do with Elizabeth when she was back in Sacramento. The next day, the PES texted him to say that she and her boyfriend worked things out and that she and Elizabeth would be staying after all. She ended the text with “Happy Father’s Day.” He didn't even get to talk to Elizabeth on Father's Day. What a miserable bitch she was. If she had been in my house, I might have physically assaulted her at that point. He was devastated, even worse than when she took Elizabeth in the first place. As hard as it was, we picked up the pieces and moved on.

A couple of months after that, they moved back to Sacramento. Apparently, the PES didn’t want to stay with the Internet guy because he required her to have a job and help pay the bills. She hadn’t worked since she was pregnant with Elizabeth, and she despised having a job. Even though money was very tight when David and she were married, he didn’t force her to work.

About a month after they moved back, the PES called him. He told me that she had been drinking because she was slurring her words. She talked about him being a great dad to their daughter and how she was lucky for that. She told him that she had missed her best friend when she was living in Indiana. He thought she was talking about the friend she lived with, and he said that. She told him that no, she meant that she missed David. She told him that she wanted them to get back together and re-married. I heard him tell her that there was no way he would ever get back together with her and that he was happy with me. She started screaming and told him that he was a piece of shit and a loser, and then she hung up on him.

Her reign of terror began in earnest. She started telling Elizabeth that I was only nice to her because I was showing off for her father, and that I wished Elizabeth didn’t visit us. Poor little Elizabeth came up to me with tears in her eyes and asked me if I liked her. I said that I loved her and asked why she wanted to know if I liked her. That's when she told me what her mom said. A short while later, Elizabeth came up to me and asked me how much her dad cost. I asked her what she meant because I was confused. She said that she heard the PES telling a friend on the phone that the only reason David was with me was because I “bought him” so Elizabeth wanted to know how much I had to pay for her dad. Elizabeth was FOUR YEARS OLD. What kind of “mother” says such horrible things to and/or in front of a young child?

Right before Elizabeth turned five years old (November 2011), we decided to take a family trip to Disneyland over the Thanksgiving break from school. It was going to be me, David, my two younger kids (my oldest son was in the Marines), David’s adult son, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s 12-year-old sister heard David telling the PES about the trip to Disneyland, and apparently the PES hinted around about us taking the older daughter (she is not David’s biological child, and her father was in the picture). So, we even took the PES’s older daughter with us to Disneyland. We paid for her ticket; didn’t even make the PES contribute any money for her older daughter to go. I thought that maybe the PES would lighten up on me, realizing that I’m not the bad guy.

WRONG. About a month after the trip, I started noticing that Elizabeth was acting differently toward me. She started making up lies to her father about me physically abusing her, she would randomly tell me that I was not her mother (I wasn’t trying to be), etc. In short, it seemed like she was trying to do everything possible to get me and her father to not be together. I pointed it out to David, but he didn’t want to deal with it, so it got swept under the rug. I also noticed that Elizabeth seemed to have a hard time being mean to me because she would be so sweet in between the times when she lied about me to her dad. I finally asked her why she was doing such mean things to me. She told me that the PES told her that it was Elizabeth’s job to help the PES get back together with David. Elizabeth said that she was doing what her mom told her to do. The PES was using a FIVE YEAR OLD to break up me and David.

I wanted to confront the PES, but David begged me not to, because she was unstable and he was afraid that if I said something to the PES, she might take Elizabeth away again. So, I ignored my inner voice (you would think I’d learn!) and just bit my tongue. Life moved on, and as Elizabeth got older, she stopped trying to come in between me and her father. She and I started getting pretty close. Elizabeth even told the PES that she wished I was her real mom, which got Elizabeth a huge spanking (according to Elizabeth). I told Elizabeth that maybe she should not say how much she liked me in front of the PES.

When Elizabeth was in the second grade, the PES moved in with a man she’d been dating for a few months. This required Elizabeth to move to a different elementary school, the FIFTH school she’d attended since starting Kindergarten. David and I thought that with a serious boyfriend, maybe the PES would get over her obsession with ending our relationship.

Towards the end of Elizabeth’s second grade year, the relationship between the PES and her boyfriend was deteriorating. The PES kept going to David for help and advice. She told him that her boyfriend accused her of having an affair with David, which we both believed was bullshit. She asked him if it was weird that she wished David could give her a big hug and help her with her problems. He was evasive, just stating that he understood that she was having problems and that he hoped things got better for her. Finally, he got tired of her constant texts and just said that all he cared about was that Elizabeth was safe and cared for.

She told David that she and Elizabeth were about to be homeless because the boyfriend was kicking the PES out of his house. She told David that he was physically abusive toward her when they both got drunk, likely hoping that David come to her rescue. All David asked was if he was abusing Elizabeth. She said no, and David told her that maybe she should lighten up on the excessive drinking and her life would be less dramatic.

David came to me about Elizabeth’s living situation. I said that Elizabeth should move in with us. I had been wanting Elizabeth to live with us for quite some time, because the poor kid deserved some stability, which was sorely lacking with the PES. Also, Elizabeth had been begging the PES to live with her dad. So, Elizabeth moved in with us on the last day of second grade, in May 2014. The PES told David that it would just be for the summer, so that she would have time to find a job and get a place for them to live. David said that after the summer, he wanted equal time with Elizabeth, and the PES seemed to agree with this proposed arrangement.

Summer passed, and the PES still had no job and was living on a friend’s couch. We kept Elizabeth with us. Even though we were 8 miles (and about a 40-minute drive) from her school, we kept her at the same school where she attended second grade. We did not want Elizabeth to attend yet another school. It was literally the first time she started a grade at the same school where she ended school the grade prior. The PES rarely visited Elizabeth; at one point, she went over two months without seeing Elizabeth.

With the PES having such limited involvement in Elizabeth’s daily life, Elizabeth started doing better in school. With the PES, she missed a LOT of school (average of over 20 days per school year). Also, her grades were very low; she could barely read and couldn’t add anything beyond 2 + 2 without using her fingers. Now that she wasn’t missing any school, and I worked in her classroom on a regular basis, she was starting to make up for some of what she missed at school. I worked really hard with the school because I believed that she had some sort of learning disability (later found to be the case), and she was starting to thrive. She even asked my biological kids if it was okay for her to start calling me “mom.” My kids were okay with this, and she started calling me mom.

In November 2014, the PES wanted to attend Elizabeth’s birthday party at our house. Elizabeth told me that she did not want the PES at her party because in her opinion, the PES was mean to me and she didn’t want her to ruin the party. David told the PES that Elizabeth didn’t want her there, and the PES did not take it well. She was supposed to have Elizabeth spend the night before her party, but she canceled at the last minute. She said she’d see Elizabeth “later” and that she hoped we all had fun without her.

A couple of nights before the party, she called David. She was so intoxicated that he could barely understand what she was saying on the phone. It was something about a lawyer, that David was making a mistake by not allowing her to come to the party, and that he would be sorry.

Two days after the phone call, she texted David to let him know that she was pregnant by her ex-boyfriend and that she was not going to have the baby. She was renting a bedroom in a house she saw on Craigslist, still had no job, both of her daughters were living with their fathers, and the boyfriend had no interest in getting back together because of the baby. David told her that was probably for the best and didn’t think further about it.

Two months later, Elizabeth saw her mom. When she came home, she told us that the PES told her she would have a little brother or sister. Apparently, she decided that having a baby with absolutely no prospects was a great idea. That night, while Elizabeth was getting ready for bed, she told me that she thought it was weird that her mom was having a baby. I asked her why, and she said, “My mom can’t have me live with her, and she can’t have my sister live with her. But she can have a baby with her?”

A few months after the PES got pregnant, she was given notice to move out of the Craigslist house. It was an “adults only” residence, so the owner did not want her living there with a baby. She moved in with her elderly mother because she still did not have a job, and the ex-boyfriend did not get back together with her.

The baby was born in June 2015, after midnight. Who do you think the first person was that the PES texted with the news? Yes. She texted David at 1:45 a.m. with a picture of the baby. He thought it was so weird, but I did not think it was odd at all. She was still obsessed with him, even though she had a baby with another man.

After the baby was born, it was almost as if Elizabeth had never existed for the PES. She was already spending very little time with the PES, but now the PES was asking to see Elizabeth even less frequently than she was before the baby. Elizabeth was hurt but kept making excuses for the PES, which I understand. It’s hard to be a little kid and acknowledge that your mom has lost all interest in you.

About 6 months after the baby was born, the PES convinced the ex-boyfriend to marry her. She probably threatened to go after him for a ton of money (the baby was born with Down Syndrome and would need a lot of care that she couldn’t afford without a job). I thought that having this baby and getting remarried would FINALLY make the PES lose interest in David. I thought she would be too busy with her new life to spend time obsessing over him, but once again she proved me wrong.