One of the most maddeningly frustrating things about being a stepparent is having to sit idly by while your spouse deals with her ex-. It doesn't help when the ex- in question is a total, unreconstructed, Grade AAA dickweed. Most of us who are decent human beings want to be able to relieve the pain and suffering of our Significant Other, but when it comes to dealing with the ex-, that usually isn't possible.
I'm not going to go into detail, because Susan and Adam both read this, and I am still trying to work through my own anger. I will say, though, that Adam is faced with having to come to grips with a father who, though he will deny it to his last dying breath, holds his oldest son in utter contempt. No 19-year-old should have to deal with that realization, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to ease that pain.
One of the strongest human desires is the desire of a male child for the approval of his father. It's a universal truth. Even though I had not seen my father in 12 years before last May, I would have forgiven everything had I received his approval. Once I did, it was as if the weight of all those years of anger simply melted away. To be 19 and having to deal with not having that approval must be an agonizing reality.
As I tapped away furiously on my laptop while at the kitchen table last night, I had to hold my fire while Susan conducted an obviously difficult and painful conversation with her ex-husband. Figuratively bound and gagged, I could do nothing but listen. I know that it's not my battle to fight, but I am involved. I just wish there was something- ANYTHING- that I could do to make things better.
Adam is a good kid, and I would be proud to call him my son. I just wish his father felt the same way. The most painful thing for me is having to watch all of the pain and anger unfold, while at the same time being powerless to fix it. That hurts.