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S09.E09: Where Do We Go From Here

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11 hours ago, DangerousMinds said:

I don’t think any judge in a custody case is going to take our opinions here into account. We are all free to speculate and make our own judgments.

Well, of course! My point was that making statements that someone is negligent and /or guilty of parental alienation without first hand knowledge of the situation IS just specualtion and conjecture. These kind of statements made by people on these forums while not having any bearing on any child custody cases, are still inflammatory. We can all speculate and make judgements but until there is proof positive from a reliable source that Maci is guilty of parental alienation and neglect, which is a serious charge, it would be, at least in Bentley's best interest, to at the very least, preface such comments with "I don't know for a fact but IMO...." And now I'm bowing out of this discussion...I've already spent too much time on it and I need to move on to a Real Housewives forum for some intellectual discourse...LOL!

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On 3/24/2021 at 11:30 PM, BrownBear2012 said:

Mac is just weird...from the way she talks to the obsession with reminding her poor kids, who look like they have PTSD, about their dead grandmother. The daughter seems depressed and the thumb sucking at her age seems like a self soothing thing with her. These kids have had a lot of upheaval and dysfunction in their young lives and it shows. 

Yeah, I think there's something very off about Mac too. She seems kind of one step removed from reality, like she talks about stuff in this sing-songy voice and tries to be "positive" (I guess), but, at the same time, she's testifying to/acting out tremendous pain. I totally get being devastated by a parent's death, but the way she's like, "Grandma this, Grandma that, let's call Grandma!," all with this cheerful tone is... weird. And her relationship with Josh (and how he/her family/her friends gaslight her around it) is very weird and depressing. I feel really bad for her kids.

On 3/25/2021 at 3:41 AM, kitkat343 said:

I was a unhappy to see Gary tell Leah that their relationship "was a two way street" when Leah talked about her mom sleeping all the time during her visits and not spending time with her in general.  Its good that Gary doesn't say anything bad about Amber to Leah, but when she quite accurately described her relationship with her mom and why she's upset she needs to know Gary and Christina are 100% on her side.  And he's hurting Leah by making it feel like its her responsibility to fix the relationship with her mom.  So many children of abusive parents lose themselves in trying to keep their parents happy and earn their love.  

Gary should never say anything bad about Amber, but he can just validate Leah's feelings when she says the truth about her mother.  If Leah says, "she's never around," Gary can say, "I'm really sorry about that.  That must be so hard."   Leah isn't a little girl anymore.  She knows exactly who her mother is, and any judge determining visitation and custody would take into account her wishes at this point.  If Gary is still catering to Amber's delusions, that's either because he genuinely wants to help her or he wants to maintain a good relationship with her to keep the MTV Teen Mom gravy train rolling.  I hope he meets with a  child psychologist to get a sense of how to help Leah navigate this very difficult relationship.   And no that doesn't include that brain dead quack Dr. Drew!   

ITA. IMO, Gary (especially, but Kristina too) are very codependent with Amber and I saw that as teaching Leah to be codependent too. Leah is 11/12 years old and is a lovely person (not that that even matters in this context) who has never done anything bad to Amber. Her voicing her feelings and holding Amber accountable for being a lazy, shitty mother isn't her "not meeting Amber halfway" or anything like that. Amber sucks. Yes, she's mentally ill, but she also has had resources and opportunities that are not available to so many other mentally ill people who are genuinely trying to get better/be decent parents. Amber doesn't have to deal with the stress of some shitty job or worry about where she's going to live, whether she can get the mental health treatment she needs, or where her next meal is coming from, yet she can't be assed to get an Uber to Gary's house (she can afford it) to visit Leah. I'm sure she figures out a way to get to her dealer's house when she needs to and she even figured out how to get her bf over from Belgium. Leah sees what's up. She's not being hard on Amber, at all. (and she has every right to be hard on Amber)

I think part of the problem is that Gary recognizes that Amber is mentally ill, but he's afraid to even utter the phrase "mental illness" and he has some idea that if they talk about Amber's mental illnessES openly that it might somehow lead to Leah having the same problems. Maybe once Kristina completes her "Medical Education" she can explain to him that that's not really how it works. Leah is CLEARLY much smarter than Gary, Kristina, and Amber put together (I actually think Amber might be the most intelligent of the adults) and, despite her youth, she sees that all is not well with her birth mom. It's unfortunate that Gary is resistant to getting Leah support in sorting all of this out because he's afraid that getting support for emotional problems just leads to more emotional problems. Despite his personal experience, which strongly indicates the opposite. Sigh.

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18 minutes ago, TheRealT said:

I think part of the problem is that Gary recognizes that Amber is mentally ill, but he's afraid to even utter the phrase "mental illness" and he has some idea that if they talk about Amber's mental illnessES openly that it might somehow lead to Leah having the same problems.

I liked your entire post @TheRealT but especially this part.  I hadn't really thought of it that way but it makes so much sense. 

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20 hours ago, TheRealT said:

Yeah, I think there's something very off about Mac too. She seems kind of one step removed from reality, like she talks about stuff in this sing-songy voice and tries to be "positive" (I guess), but, at the same time, she's testifying to/acting out tremendous pain. I totally get being devastated by a parent's death, but the way she's like, "Grandma this, Grandma that, let's call Grandma!," all with this cheerful tone is... weird. And her relationship with Josh (and how he/her family/her friends gaslight her around it) is very weird and depressing. I feel really bad for her kids.

ITA. IMO, Gary (especially, but Kristina too) are very codependent with Amber and I saw that as teaching Leah to be codependent too. Leah is 11/12 years old and is a lovely person (not that that even matters in this context) who has never done anything bad to Amber. Her voicing her feelings and holding Amber accountable for being a lazy, shitty mother isn't her "not meeting Amber halfway" or anything like that. Amber sucks. Yes, she's mentally ill, but she also has had resources and opportunities that are not available to so many other mentally ill people who are genuinely trying to get better/be decent parents. Amber doesn't have to deal with the stress of some shitty job or worry about where she's going to live, whether she can get the mental health treatment she needs, or where her next meal is coming from, yet she can't be assed to get an Uber to Gary's house (she can afford it) to visit Leah. I'm sure she figures out a way to get to her dealer's house when she needs to and she even figured out how to get her bf over from Belgium. Leah sees what's up. She's not being hard on Amber, at all. (and she has every right to be hard on Amber)

I think part of the problem is that Gary recognizes that Amber is mentally ill, but he's afraid to even utter the phrase "mental illness" and he has some idea that if they talk about Amber's mental illnessES openly that it might somehow lead to Leah having the same problems. Maybe once Kristina completes her "Medical Education" she can explain to him that that's not really how it works. Leah is CLEARLY much smarter than Gary, Kristina, and Amber put together (I actually think Amber might be the most intelligent of the adults) and, despite her youth, she sees that all is not well with her birth mom. It's unfortunate that Gary is resistant to getting Leah support in sorting all of this out because he's afraid that getting support for emotional problems just leads to more emotional problems. Despite his personal experience, which strongly indicates the opposite. Sigh.

Mac has seemed off to me since Teen Mom 3. She seemed to live in a reality that is just so slightly off. She was so young on Teen Mom 3, but her world view was like a sheltered middle aged housewife surprised by a divorce. It was just strange that she acted like she was going to go to a wine bar and talk about how she has to get a job and learn to take her car in for service now that Josh is having an affair with his secretary. Except she was a teenager and had very few actual responsibilities. I don’t think I’m explaining it well, but she just acted so old for a teenager while still acting very immature for a teenager. Like a little girl playing family who doesn’t realize it’s all pretend.

I totally agree with your assessment of Garry and Kristina. I believe their heart is in the right place but go about it badly. Part of what they are trying to do(I think) is a version of “you can’t control your mom’s behavior, but you can control your own.” Which I get, but they aren’t doing it all that well. As with all things it comes across as appeasing Amber at all costs. I feel for them. Gary and Kristina don’t strike me as the brightest people but they are trying and Lea seems delightful so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

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On 3/25/2021 at 4:13 PM, IDreamofJoaquin said:

It also find the relationship with Tyler and his mom perplexing.  She has always seemed like the only one in their world who had some stability.  She always had one house she was living in, a long term job and actually was the only person .  It actually surprises me she did not put more effort into Tyler's education.  There definitely is something mysterious about her because she did have kids with Butch and her daughter had addiction issues.    What is the off thing about her that we don't know about?

I think Tyler's mom (Kim?) is more run-of-the-mill fucked up, compared to the Olympian levels of fucked up we've seen with Butch and April. Kim is poor, poorly educated, and not particularly bright or ambitious and when she was with Butch she was young and maybe was hung up on him because he was her first "true love," the father of her kids, etc. But I still think that her years-long relationship with Butch, having two kids with him, and (seemingly) allowing Butch to put the kids (and her) through all kinds of shit indicates a higher than "normal" level of dysfunction. Even since she split from Butch years (decades?) ago, she continued to allow/support including him in her kids'/grandkids' lives for years, even after he was horribly abusive to C & T over placing Carly for adoption (to name just one egregious example). She doesn't seem emotionally healthy to me in the sense of understanding how to set healthy boundaries, how problematic fucked up family dynamics are in the short and long term, etc., etc.

Apart from that, Kim seems to have been blissfully ignorant about parenting when her kids were young and to have learned little to nothing about parenting since then. I can understand the challenges she faced in supporting her kids' education when they were young, but she doesn't talk about it like, "I wish I had had the time to read with you guys/go to parent-teacher conferences/etc. when you were young, but I was working multiple jobs..." She doesn't seem to have understood then why that kind of thing is important and she doesn't seem to understand now. Instead, she was surprised that kids are supposed to do any kind of academic work before (or during) kindergarten.

So, on that level, it's not surprising that (apparently), it never occurred to C & T to teach Nova the alphabet or how to write her name or anything. They seemed kind of confused even after their parent teacher conference, as if the teacher had told them they should be teaching Nova quantum physics or something. I wonder whether Nova has ever even watched Sesame Street or anything like that. I get how C & T came to be who they are, but I still can't believe how fucking lazy they are about parenting. Tyler puts more effort into his physical appearance. You don't need to be an Ivy League graduate to come across the idea that it's good to read to your young children. Has either of them ever spent an hour reading/watching anything about how to take care of kids? Weren't they on some website reading about how to teach your child to protect herself from unwanted touching? I know that was just a storyline for the show, but neither of them was like, "Wow, there are websites with all kinds of parenting advice. Maybe we should spend 10 or 20 minutes reading an article or two... Hey, it says that it helps your toddler prepare for school if you read to them. Who'd a thought? Is that why one of the MTV producers gave us those children's books? Maybe we should read them to the girls? Why not? Do you remember where we put them in the garage?"

Edited by TheRealT
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On 3/27/2021 at 1:08 AM, heatherchandler said:

I know this because it is all on tv.  She’s made it clear he can’t see Bentley alone. She claims Bentley is pushing for joint therapy and that he will only see him if that happens.  When discussed, he seems to not know much about this plan that he supposedly came up with. His only question is if he can see his dad more.  

And while all of this is discussed, you can actually see the embarrassment on his face.  He specifically said he DOES NOT want to talk on camera about his therapy, and rather than respect the wishes of her son, she calls the therapist to discuss his issues on camera.  That’s selling him out FOR MONEY and it’s so beyond messed up I cannot believe anyone would defend it.
 

I’m not Mac.  I’m not the only person who sees right through Maci and her lies and BS. Ryan is obviously not well, and I have nothing but compassion for addicts.  

Maci doesn’t have another storyline so Bentley’s very personal issues have been turned into tv content.  He’s a minor, and this is wrong.  How can that be defended?

Ryan has always been a terrible father but it can also be true that Maci makes things worse. I think she has always used Bentley to manipulate things and people - including for a storyline. 

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4 hours ago, FozzyBear said:

 

I totally agree with your assessment of Garry and Kristina. I believe their heart is in the right place but go about it badly. Part of what they are trying to do(I think) is a version of “you can’t control your mom’s behavior, but you can control your own.” Which I get, but they aren’t doing it all that well. As with all things it comes across as appeasing Amber at all costs. I feel for them. Gary and Kristina don’t strike me as the brightest people but they are trying and Lea seems delightful so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Which is further complicated by them living this on national TV and facing scrutiny on what they say and do. They ALL need to move on with their lives privately.

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Bentley may just end up hating Maci for exploiting him since birth and making all of this public. He may resent her for using him as a paycheck instead of keeping his childhood private and HER working to support him, as it should be. 

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On 3/27/2021 at 8:46 AM, snarts said:

Yet you claim you don't watch the show. I've actually watched (don't judge, it's a pandemic) and Bentley's never asked if he could see his dad more. Rather, he's shown hesitancy when told that Ryan would be at Jen/Larry's and utter reluctance to go to his Dad's house at all. 

IMO, Maci is raising Bentley 100% on her own and he appears to be healthy, happy, articulate & respectful.  

Ryan was and is not involved in the slightest.  His parents continue to try to force his involvement which has resulted in him treating Bentley like a little brother he can rag on rather than his son.  Even with his parents urging (& financial backing), Ryan couldn't be bothered to formalize custody & a visitation schedule with the courts.  He just doesn't care.  

We've had 11 years of watching him not care.  We've also had 11 years of watching Bentley's relationship with the Edwards family.  Maci did not legally have to allow that but she did. Bentley's now old enough to express his own opinions. He's requested some boundaries and his mom is trying to enforce them.  I, for one, applaud her for being his advocate and I don't blame her one bit for having concerns about his oft arrested, obviously drug abusing, uninterested father. 

I watch the show, I ffwd most of it, and I’ve said I’m taking it off my dvr but then end up watching it.  I’m hate-watching at this point. Heroin is easier to quit than hate-watching this awful show.

I don’t like Ryan, I don’t think he’s a good father. I have compassion for him because he is very sick.  I have compassion for anyone with an addiction.  I have a lot of compassion for Jen and Larry who are good people IMO and love Bentley.  Being the parents of an addict is truly horrific and you can’t understand it unless you are in the situation or very close to the situation.  It’s a special kind of hell.

Bentley didn’t request boundaries, Maci said to him “you don’t want to see your dad until after you go to therapy” and he SAID “then I can see him more?”  He wants to see his dad more!
 

It’s pretty clear to me- it’s her idea and he’s going along with it IN ORDER TO SEE HIS DAD!  He wants to see him.  Some kids just want to be with the parent even if they actually suck!

Maci is angry for Bentley, and so she is putting up the boundaries.  And for most mothers I’d say yeah that’s good.  But she is thinking she’s such a great parent, patting herself on the back as she is actively EXPLOITING him on national tv.  I feel like there is no defense of that, none.  And all the parents are guilty of this, so it’s not just her but she is going even further and calling his f-ing therapist to discuss his treatment on camera!  It is appalling.

 

Edited by heatherchandler
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We’ve been speculating over on the Amber thread that she was accepted to Perdue University Global, which is the online learning arm of the Purdue University system. Purdue bought the former for-profit Kaplan University and rebranded it. These kinds of programs are typically geared towards adults who are going back to school for a bachelor or master degree while working/raising kinds/doing whatever, often part time. No shade on anyone who attends them, but the admissions standards are usually quite a bit lower. I’m going to hold off congratulating Amber until she actually passes a few classes. She’s not known for her persistence.

Edited by MargeGunderson
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Why did Josh think giving Mac a beautiful bunch of flowers when they get to the beach would be a good idea? I see wilted, dead flowers in the 3-4 or more hours they will sit in a hot car. Not a whole lot of thought went into that "birthday surprise". As long as Mac keeps her expectations low, her relationship will survive.

Amber is gross. I was so happy to see that Leah gave her the "don't call me, I'll call you" line. 

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On 3/29/2021 at 6:03 PM, MargeGunderson said:

No shade on anyone who attends them, but the admissions standards are usually quite a bit lower.

Not even quite a bit lower.  Purdue Global has an open admissions policy, which means anyone with a high school diploma or GED can enroll.  There is no competition whatsoever among people wanting to enroll.

I can't believe People published that story.  I know that sites like The Ashley just take people's tweets and repeat them over and over to turn them into stories, but I expected better than that from People.  Maybe because I remember back when it first came into existence as a magazine, and it was clearly miles ahead of the National Enquirer.  But to take people tweets and publish them as facts is just so wrong.  But it leads to clicks, and nobody's going to sue them over saying Amber got accepted by Purdue University, so there's no down side.  Except leading people to believe things that aren't true, and nobody seems to give a shit about that any more.

Actually, I wish Purdue University would sue them for defamation.  If I were on the jury, I'd say, "Hell yes your reputation was irredeemably harmed by the assertion that you accepted Amber.  Judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of infinity."

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I've been thinking about it.  People has done the same thing Purdue did.  Purdue bought an online university and rebranded it with the Purdue name, and the cachet that comes with it, I assume because they think it will make more money than if they'd named it something without "Purdue" in it. 

People magazine has a website that benefits from the cachet of a print magazine that's been around for over 40 years.  When I went to the website to find the Amber story, I couldn't even tell if a People magazine is still published (I don't hang out at grocery store checkouts any more).  I went to Wikipedia and apparently it is.  So I went back to the website and finally noticed a "subscribe" over on the right, which sure enough is for the print version.  But for all I know, it could be for subscribing to the website.  So to me, they use the "People" name to get you there, and once there, it's just like every other website with a million stories to click on.  Nothing like the curated (and presumably at least minimally fact-checked?) version that gets printed.

So there appears to be very little in common between People magazine and people.com except the name, just like there's very little in common between Purdue University and Purdue Global University except the name. 

I assume the powers that be at Purdue did the math and decided that any confusion was worth it, but I wonder if they might be rethinking that, because there is a genuine opportunity for confusion, and having a bunch of Ambers studying at or graduating from Purdue University is bound to be problematic.

I'm not one for school spirit, but if I were an alumna of Purdue University, I might be miffed.  Actually, I'm an alumna of the University of Southern California, and was miffed that it was part of the admissions scandal...until much to my surprise the media were calling it a prestigious school, which was definitely not the case back in my day.  😀

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People magazine is still in print. I got a free subscription to it. 

1 hour ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I've been thinking about it.  People has done the same thing Purdue did.  Purdue bought an online university and rebranded it with the Purdue name, and the cachet that comes with it, I assume because they think it will make more money than if they'd named it something without "Purdue" in it. 

People magazine has a website that benefits from the cachet of a print magazine that's been around for over 40 years.  When I went to the website to find the Amber story, I couldn't even tell if a People magazine is still published (I don't hang out at grocery store checkouts any more).  I went to Wikipedia and apparently it is.  So I went back to the website and finally noticed a "subscribe" over on the right, which sure enough is for the print version.  But for all I know, it could be for subscribing to the website.  So to me, they use the "People" name to get you there, and once there, it's just like every other website with a million stories to click on.  Nothing like the curated (and presumably at least minimally fact-checked?) version that gets printed.

So there appears to be very little in common between People magazine and people.com except the name, just like there's very little in common between Purdue University and Purdue Global University except the name. 

I assume the powers that be at Purdue did the math and decided that any confusion was worth it, but I wonder if they might be rethinking that, because there is a genuine opportunity for confusion, and having a bunch of Ambers studying at or graduating from Purdue University is bound to be problematic.

I'm not one for school spirit, but if I were an alumna of Purdue University, I might be miffed.  Actually, I'm an alumna of the University of Southern California, and was miffed that it was part of the admissions scandal...until much to my surprise the media were calling it a prestigious school, which was definitely not the case back in my day.  😀

 

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I hope Leah wasn't coached by production to say those words about her mother!I

Leah always seemed to be quiet and kind of shy around the camera.

I'd hate it if they're using children for their show drama.

A really I'm pretty much done with the teen moms.  They have pretty much run out of steam.

Sick of butch and that story line.

Sick of Amber showing off from some couch.

Sick of Cheyenne at mom's house looking for a cause.

Now we'll have to hear about ptsd  from Maci forever.  At least it gives Bentley a little break!

Really sick of MacKenzie and that dumb cowboy.

It's been a long year.

Edited by Jeanne222
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1 hour ago, Jeanne222 said:

Really sick of MacKenzie and that dumb cowboy.

Yeah, me too.   I feel bad for those kids.  Between their dead grandma and ridiculous parents, a couple weeks ago someone said they all look like they are suffering PTSD and that pretty much nails it. 

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45 minutes ago, Cosmocrush said:

Yeah, me too.   I feel bad for those kids.  Between their dead grandma and ridiculous parents, a couple weeks ago someone said they all look like they are suffering PTSD and that pretty much nails it. 

I worry about those three little ones.  They just don't seem right.  They never seem to settle down.

I forget what birthday she celebrated.   

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3 hours ago, Jeanne222 said:

I forget what birthday she celebrated.   

I thought it was 26 although she acts more like 16 - no offense to actual 16 year olds.

 

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