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“My wife and her stepson”

My wife of five years “hates” my son. Hate probably isn't the accurate description, but she is extremely upset by him. She insists he hates her and the reason their relationship is so bad is because he secretly despises her and wishes she wasn't with me. None of that is true. Except after years of torment and emotional abuse, he now understandably wishes she wasn't around.

I am certain that's because she is pretty much awful to him always. By awful, I mean she doesn't like to see him. She is constantly upset if she sees him on his phone, or watching TV. This is regardless of how long he has been doing either. She unilaterally controls his bedtime, TV, and phone. She won't touch his laundry, and gets angry if he leaves it in the washer or dryer. I don't really have a say in parental discipline. I did get his bedtime moved from 9 to 9:30 which I think is too early for a 15-year-old. If he stays up past bedtime even for a few minutes she gets angry and just directs him to "Go to bed!" Oftentimes she'll send him to bed early because she say's it takes too long for him to get into bed. My son does not protest anything, he internalizes a lot of things when he doesn't think something is fair, that does come out in his body language, which drives my wife crazy.

We have three children together. My son is 10 years older than our oldest. I have full sole custody of him. His bio mom has abandoned him. My wife wasn't expecting to have him with his since the very beginning of our marriage. I was very naive and thought because my son was awesome, she wouldn't have a problem with him. He is a very good kid. Of course I'm biased, but he gets decent grades, he is never sick, his teachers give him high praises for his demeanor in class, his coaches go out of their way to tell me how great he is to have on the team. He's always just wanted to be good – being in trouble devastates him.

My wife treats close family with contempt. That includes me, my son, her mother, brother, and sister. She gets upset if I don't do things exactly how she wants. She often changes her mind about how she wants things, yet she'll be equally mad if you don't do it her way. While being upset with my son for being on his phone, she's constantly on her phone all day off and on. Chatting with her family, friends etc. Its really sad that I let this go on for so long. I just couldn't understand how she could feel that way about my son. But I'm starting to realize how impossible it would be for a young woman to go from being single to married with a 10-year-old. I don't know why but I didn't see how difficult that was at the time. If we had it to do over again, we both agree we should have ended the marriage immediately.

I'm at the point now where I am looking at divorce, but I really want to know if there are any cases where something like this was so severe but turned around with therapy, counseling, personal development, and support. I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and she agreed she needed to go to counseling. She admits that she doesn't know why she gets so angry when she sees something like his plate left in the sink. She knows she wouldn't be like that with our children. But she says it's like a "extremely heavy bag is put on her" and she gets very angry. I have pretty severe depression that I am currently being treated by both medicine and therapy (looking into finding a new therapist). I've always had depression, but I do know that she is a major trigger to my depression. When she is angry with my son which is every day, and when she's angry with me, which sporadic good week bad week kind of thing. I try very hard not to show my son that she is completely in the wrong.

But it's very difficult and sometimes I have to because he'll be in tears because she just hurt him. She responds with his tears with more anger and saying he's making it up. I'm not unbiased, but I would say it's delusional. I also want to point out, as this is a very one-sided comment, I am not exactly the best husband and father. I don't have a high paying stable job, I own my own business. I am occupied by that business nearly all the time. I am always available but I don't volunteer my availability because I have an endless amount of work to do with my business.

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