Need help - marrige is falling apart becuse of SD

ChrisedwardFebruary 9, 2014

So, I'm pretty much new to forums and have never really done anything like this or felt the need to ask for help prior to today. I apologize ahead of time if this is long winded and riddled with grammatical errors, I really have nowhere else to turn to and am writing this late at night.

I am a 34 year old male and have been married to my wife for almost 10 years (our anniversary would be this upcoming June). I have a step daughter who turned 17 this past October and the past two years have been horrific. I have basically raised her since the age of 7 and have been around her since she was 5. My wife is two years older than me and I love her despite everything that has happened.

My wife maintains a civil relationship with the Biological father however he does not pay child support nor has he paid it in the past 8 years or so and is a horrible influence on his child. He lives at home with his parents, gambles, hustles, and I am almost 99% sure he deals drugs. He is a thug - plain and simple. 2 years ago he was in an altercation with his then girlfriend�s husband and shot and killed the guy in self defense. Despite his shortfalls and his multitude of problems he is absent from my step daughter�s life a majority of the time causing a strained relationship between them. She uses the guy for money every once in a while and plays the pity card to get him to buy stuff, when she gets what she wants they don't talk for a month or more until the process repeats again. He interjects and tries to become "Dad" only when the crazy stuff happens (more on that later).
My step daughter also maintains a good relationship with her Biological father�s parents. For years she was not disciplined when around them and would typically see them while still being punished for something and have said punishment lifted while there. Basically my wife and I were the bad guys all the time. If my stepdaughter had a problem she would call the grandparents and they would in turn call my wife and complain. My stepdaughter could do no wrong in their eyes despite her actions or what she said. I brought this up to my wife on numerous occasions and got nowhere with her. She would seem annoyed when I brought it up asking me "what am I supposed to do about it?!" We would typically argue after that. They are nice people, they just seem to be too worried about the SD being their friend as opposed to a child they needed to mold.

My stepdaughter during the initial year of marriage was great short of doing no wrong in her grand-parents eyes who heavily interjected with her upbringing initially. At times she would act up like any other kid but for the most part was an awesome kid. My wife became pregnant with our child and my stepdaughter took to her half sister rather well, no issues, no complaints, very little jealousy from what I remember. My wife and were both adamant about treating them equally and I ensured I did not become overly affectionate with my biological child and gave my step daughter just as much attention. When I met my wife I knew there would be problems like this and I accepted that as part of the package deal. I am convinced to this day that my wife is the "one," yet can�t help shake off my feelings of growing remorse for my step daughter which has grown over the years.

At times when SD acted up or would not listen I would generally insist on punishment and felt push-back from my wife more often than not. When I say "punishment" I mean it as a general term. We were never over the top in punishment but looking back definitely light handed in my opinion. I would engage in conversation with my wife year after year insisting we had to do better and that our Stepdaughter was getting over too easy on punishments. As she got older her behavior continued to decline and got worse. At times my wife would give her reasonable punishment but seemed to feel guilty about doing it a day or two after and would let her off. The SD soon learned that if she acted good after punishment she would be let off. She would act good for a day or two, get let off punishment and turn right back around and start acting bad again. Examples of bad would range from flat out refusal to do stuff, mouthing off, screaming , having to say the last word, throwing huge temper tantrums, constantly lying, calling grandparents to "get us in trouble," I could keep going..

Fast forward to the pre-teen years and she started changing and becoming even more manipulative she would play my wife and I against each other which caused quite a few arguments. My wife and I typically argued about two things - money and my stepdaughter. When she turned 15 she was arrested for shoplifting. The crazy part about the whole scenario was that she was not the least bit remorseful rather was actually spiteful about getting caught and being punished. She was completely devoid of fear when my wife went to pick her up. So, as we are in the process of punishing her, her biological father comes to the rescue and all of sudden wants to be involved again, I let it slide as I cared more about ensuring she would not shoplift again. She ended up getting about a month of punishment, no phone, no TV, no friends.. etc.
6-7 months later she gets into a fight at school and is suspended. Leading up to the fight she destroys her relationship with her cousins which actually resulted in the fight with one of her cousins friends. The fight was actually video taped with a cell phone and circulated around the school. Once again: No remorse for her actions, she actually bragged about beating the girl up. I was disgusted. We punish her and life goes on.. The grandparents and her father defend her actions� I voice my disapproval of this to my wife and it falls on deaf ears.

Another 6-7 months go by and I catch her walking in the house around 7 PM with a friend and she smells like marijuana smoke. We get a drug test and she pops up hot for marijuana and cocaine. The father interjects yet again; at this point I could care less as there was growing rift quickly spreading between my SD and myself. The more people that were trying to help the better I suppose.

Leading up to the string of incidents she did nothing around the house as far as chores and lived like a total slob, not cleaning her room, not taking care of her stuff, which typically lay scattered all over the floor of her bedroom. When she was caught for shoplifting we laid out a plan for her to start doing more and it of course did not stick. One evening I get sick of the mess after she goes to stay with her grandparents and I go to clean up her room and she has empty liquor bottles underneath her bed. My wife and the Biological father who yet again involves himself find out she has also been having sex. Long story short we get her a counselor/psychologist in hopes that someone other than a parental figure could help out. Grandparents and Father think it�s a stupid idea but I persist and front the bill. This lasts about year until she starts skipping her appointments which don�t get covered by my insurance so I have to pay out of pocket and we stop making her go to the counselor.

Problem after problem and argument after argument happen until I go away this past weekend on a conference for work and get a call this morning that the step daughter has been arrested for DUI. The Biological father posts bond with my wife while I race home and they find out she has been doing drugs, smoking cocaine, snorting Zanex and drinking quite a bit. She is currently enrolled in a Rehab facility locally. I could write a book on everything else she has done in-between the big events (Shoplifting, drugs/drinking, fighting, DUI) � Smarting off, telling my wife and I off, threatening to run away, not contributing to anything in the house, not cleaning up after herself, not turning off lights or locking the house when she left, blowing up the second she did not get what she wanted, manipulating everyone to bend to her will, acting nice only to get what she wanted, compulsively lying.. etc.
For the past two years I have been at my wits end and have developed hatred for the kid. I don�t want to hate her but I end up feeling so much remorse for her actions, mannerisms, and attitude that I have to try to avoid being around her in order to keep a sane household. I�ve not been a perfect step-father but I have involved her with everything in my life, I pay for everything, planned to pay for college, gave her a car, given her my life and have received nothing in return. My parents � god bless their hearts have accepted her as if she was biological grandkid she is given everything equal to their actual biological grand kid. I tried to be a father figure, tried to be there for her, tried to give my love and it seemed to be for nothing. I have realized this hatred when it began I tried numerous times reach out to the kid, to be nice, to engage in normal conversation with her but found she would only tolerate interaction with me if SHE was in a good mood or wanted something. I know teenagers are difficult to deal with but she seems to be completely devoid of a moral compass or conscience. She is hateful, spiteful, completely self centered, greedy, a thief, a liar, a manipulator, and to top it all off she does not care.

I am too the point now where I seriously thinking about telling my wife "her or me." I know what the answer will be and would understand completely but am conflicted because I love my wife very much. I am scared of hurting my biological daughter if it came to divorce and would untimely be devastated if it happened but I am miserable. I can�t take this anymore. My wife and I talked this evening and I told her I was not ready to see my stepdaughter at the rehab facility and that things had to change. She did not like what I had to say and left the room to sleep in another room. I realize this conversation was ill timed on my part as she has been up since 3AM last night dealing with the DUI however I had to let her know how I feel as I am at my wits end. I hope that this event is the one that switches the light on for her to change and but part of thinks this is only the beginning of more problems. The crazy part about all of this is I feel horrible for even thinking this way. I feel selfish. I feel like I am betraying my family with these thoughts. I feel like I need to man up and drive on and reassure everyone that it will be ok. I feel all of these things but can�t help shake the feeling that I am done with this I cannot take it anymore.

The SD will be in the rehab facility for the next couple of days. Once she gets out she will not have a car anymore (her license will be suspended if it has not already due to the DUI) which means if I stick it out I will be forced to have interaction with her. She will undoubtedly be good for about a month but historically that�s about as long as it will last. Then the lies will start, the manipulation, the attitude, she will quit listening, arguments will start up again.. etc. I don�t want that anymore and quite frankly don�t think I can handle it again.
Through the course of my marriage I have committed 100% to my family resulting in me pushing away all my friends and befriending my wife�s, sister�s, husbands. They are both good guys but are loyal to their wives. I could vent to them but would cause trouble and embarrass myself. I have no one to turn to hence this post. Any advice will be much appreciated. Feel free to judge away I will not argue. I have nothing left in me to argue.

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Hi Chris

I read your post with sadness. And rather than judging, actually you sound very caring, I respect your ability to reach out and the negative feelings towards your SD seem quite normal given what you have all been through.

The problem in step relationships is that much as we start off caring, start off thinking that we have a clean sheet, something to build with. The bottom line is that most of us step parents have no authority and no respect within the household. And when it comes down to it, our partners have an unbelievably keen instinct to take any kind of attempt by us to guide or influence or god forbid, parent or discipline as some kind of personal insult or betrayal. Causing them to side with their child, ignoring all faults (and in your sd's case, crimes) in a way that within the nuclear family, I'm pretty sure wouldn't happen.

It's a really tough dynamic and I am only two years into this situation myself although with nowhere near the challenges that you have faced and I can tell you, it is hard. I have read so many times that the strength in the partnership is what can influence the children. However, your sd's other familial influences seem greater than that and your relationship is understandably suffering.

You are still very young and have a long life ahead of you. Do you have other children at home? Do you ever visualize a different life?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:02AM
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It sounds like you tried to parent this child with one hand tied behind your back, which never works. Your SD is the product of lazy parenting, not just by her father but also her mother who failed to provide proper boundaries and discipline.

Before you throw in the towel on this relationship, I suggest you and your wife see a counselor. Be sure you go to one that has experience with blended family issues.

In the meantime, I would NOT pay for her college and DO NOT buy her a car or pay for anything else for her. I don't understand why you would be forced to have any interaction with her. From here on, just ignore her. Don't buy her anything, don't take her anywhere, don't tell her to pick up her room, don't have anything to do with her. If she doesn't lock the house up when she leaves, she doesn't get a key.

If after counseling it doesn't seem that you can work things out with your wife, then maybe it's best ya'll split.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 4:03PM
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You can disengage yourself from activities and parenting the child/aka. now adult but if your wife is enabling the behavior, or other family members you are lost. Even though you have 10 years of your life and emotions tied up in this now adult child. If your wife will not go to counseling and then follow the advised parenting plan, you have no other recourse but to leave.
How do I know this, I am living in the same hell. Just because these children reach the legal age, does not mean they are out of your life. The enabling parent continues to involve themselves with them, and the pain and drama overflows into your life.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Something else that occurs to me is that, as the wife is clearly assisting in enabling her older daughter's poor behaviour, I can't help but feel she will have a similar attitude to raising the daughter she shares with Chrisedward. Be prepared for a long fight.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Your relationship with your SD is a reflection of your relationship with your wife. Your SD issues are secondary issues. Your primary issues are with your wife.
When you say you love your wife, what specifically do you find so lovable about her? Is there something there that's got you hooked & or stuck? It would serve you well to discover what's keeping you hooked & or stuck in a marriage that's no good for you. What's so lovable about a wife who allows for her husband to be mistreated, manipulated, disrespected and USED? What's so lovable about a woman who does not take personal parental responsibility for raising her own child to play by the rules of civil society & instead enables & fosters her child's character deficiency? How lovable is that?
Marriage is 100% give & 0% take. But your GIVING 200% & your wife is TAKING 200%!
I regret to say you are in a BAD NEWS marriage. There's nothing but heartbreak for you in this marriage. Unless your a masochist then why would you stay?

Do you feel like your dying inside of you or like your being murdered from inside of you? If that's how you feel, then you've been reeled in by a Grade A Narcissist. She may play the 'helpless' feminine but you can rest assured she knows exactly what she's doing. Your buttons are being pushed. Your being played by a Master!

I feel for you because I've been there & now again 2nd marriage around I'm back there. It's not easy to get out of a Narcissist's clutches.
Sociopaths murder Truth, Psychopaths murder People, Narcissists murder Souls.
aka Antisocial Personality Disorders
These are the three severest & most dangerous personality disorders known to medical science.
There's no therapy, no medicine & no cure for it.
There are four outcomes for those of us who are the Victims of those who have Antisocial Personalities: the Lunatic Asylum, Prison, the Morgue
or the most well formed outcome -

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Chris, if you decide to leave, I suggest you be sure to gain sole custody of your biological daughter.
If I had a child I would fight tooth & nail to save my child.
I would go the whole nine yards, with psychometric assessments for my child, stepdaughter, soon to be ex-spouse & anything & everything lawful that would help me gain sole custody of my child.
I wouldn't want or allow for my child to be raised/destroyed by a dysfunctional Narcissist & her equally dysfunctional family.
I would also not rush into another marriage or relationship.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:30PM
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I have to say I agree with Didijs7.

You are being constantly undermimed/manipulated by your wife, her ex, BD's family and SD. Yet all the while you are footing the bill. Oh, and don't think it is going to stop when your SD turns 18-it is just the beginning my friend.

I agree, try to get primary custody of your young daughter, but unless your wife is unstable you will probably get 50/50. Move on with your life and keep a firm hand on your young daughters upbringing. You sound like a really good father to both your DD nd SD unfortunately you married a woman who puts you last.

Been there. Just re-group, make a plan, disengage from SD and all of that-and focus on you and your young DD. She really needs you to be a guiding force in her life with a mother like that.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:39AM
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