Dealing with a Stepfather (this will be long)

KaitieMarch 15, 2012

I can't stand him. My mom has been married to him for 10 years, and since the beginning he has always treated me differently. My brother is like a son to him, and I'm just a spoiled brat that does not do anything.

I'm 21, have been an honor role student since 4th grade, dean's list, animal shelter volunteer, and do practically everything asked of me. I take care of all our animals (close to 40 in all), have a job, and am a full time college student.

He is anal, but only with other people. He requires we wash our hands before touching "his" things, yet comes in from working on a car and rubs his hand all over my stuff. He hides food so that no one else can get it, and locks his garage so not one can touch his things.

We have no relationship, and I really don't want to. I have never spoken to him except to ask a question. He calls me names behind back, but within earshot. He blames me for every problem. His family calls me a spoiled brat who has not lifted a finger my entire life. All his brothers have been in jail at least one time, 2 of his brother dropped out of high school and live in run down trailers that they can't pay rent on, and his one brother is homeless. I'm the only thing my mom and him fight about, and they have even been to therapy to discuss how he treats me. I'm not the type of person to speak up for myself, I'll just take it. because of this, I have very low self esteem and social anxiety.

Animals are my outlet. I have a connection to them and always have. I believe that animals can sense when a person is bad, and I take their options seriously. Our cats bolt in the other direction when he walks into a room. Our dogs only listen to him because they are afraid of him (he yells a lot). When he first moved in, he brought a dog with him. He kept the dog in a kennel his whole life, and when he was bad, my stepfather would drag him by the collar and throw him places. Since then, I do not trust or respect him.

I am not financially able to move out right now, so I need a way to deal with him. I have considered therapy, but do not know how to bring this up to my mom.

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Try being nice.

I'm sorry if I come at this seeming insensitive but I have a SD that won't say one word to my face... but the first thing you say is "I can't stand him". What REASON does he have to TRY and be nicer to you?? Being a good student and doing things asked of you does not necessarily make you pleasant to be around. I'm not saying that's the case here but I can only give my perspective, from my experiences. If my SD would smile & be pleasant, it would be hard to not be nice back... kindness has to start somewhere. (and yes, I know it's not always reciprocated... I have tried with MY SD & she rejects it so all you can do is try) Since you are the one asking how do YOU get along, that was the first thing that came to mind.

Of course, I also have the perspective of a mom that is married to an anal man that does not like my 23 year old son. Same thing, my son did not want me to get married... he did not like someone coming into my life. I was a single parent & well, my son could get away with a lot more having a single mom than having to abide by rules we made after I got married. I take full credit for slacking on the rules when I was single... guilty parenting to a point. But, in all honesty... my son was out of line in the way he treated my husband. He was not respectful, let alone kind. He did nothing to endear himself and was outright rude at times. My husband started out trying to be helpful but it was taken, by my son, as overstepping so it was automatically rejected. Of course, my son was a teen when I got married and I admit, my husband did not do anything to try & "win him over"... but he did things like tell him of job leads & such... thinking a 15-16 year old would be interested. Of course, that was also taken by my son as intrusive & my son acted like my husband was criticizing him for not having a job. So, once again... I would suggest searching yourself for what you are contributing.

You say you really don't want a relationship and the reality is that your mom chose to be married to him... she is staying married to him... you are grown... and if they have gone to counseling to discuss how he treats you.. my guess is that the counselor suggested how to help you with the transition from adolescent to adulthood so you can leave and be on your own, at least that is what our counselor suggested in regard to the issues with my son & DH. If he is as horrible as you describe, it is somewhat hard for me to understand why your mom would stay married to him for 10 years... choosing whatever she gets out of it over her own daughter's mental health and happiness. I mean, you are suffering from low self esteem & social anxiety & she stays married to him... she doesn't "protect" you from his treatment of you? Where does she stand in this?

I apologize if I seem too blunt, but at age 21 and he's been in your life since 11... the only advice I can give is to become financially able to move out... get a part time job and find a roommate.. look for a room near your college. If you must continue living there and being nice is not working (or an option), then perhaps study on campus, spend as little time as possible at home.

Also, I have to ask... what kind of your stuff does he rub his hand all over? Personally, I kinda agree with him that nobody should touch his things. I think locking things up is extreme but my OCD husband does that as well so I understand how irritating THAT is... but if people are touching his things... let's just say my kids grew up being able to use my things so I don't care. But, my husband grew up differently & buys nicer things... he feels he works hard to have the things he buys and he is not wrong.

I guess what I'm saying is that you're 21 and it's not the same suggestions/advice I might give if you were 11 but then again, I do have a 13 year old step daughter that is rude & disrespectful... despite her dad's efforts to tell her not to behave that way. She does not want a step mom. She does not like me. End of story... she is not going to be nice to me no matter what I try. She's proven that.

BTW, is going to live with your father or another relative an option?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:44PM
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You will be able to move out soon. Hang in there. Please dont listen to all of what Ima says, she obviously hates stepkids.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:28PM
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haha KKNY. And just yesterday I was wondering what you were up to...

I don't hate stepkids. I have bent over backwards and done more for my stepdaughter than her own mother. But, I do think that it takes two people to get along. One person cannot make it happen if the other does not want it to be. Since she cannot change what he does, the only option is to leave... or stay away as much as possible. Since the mom chose to be married to the stepdad and it isn't likely HE's going to move out, and the natural course is for adult children to leave... what ADVICE do you have for her? "Hang in there"? What does that mean? Sounds like she's been "hanging in there" for 10 years. If you want to be more specific in what part of my advice/suggestions are inappropriate... I'd be happy to rethink it.

I'm just being realistic and I could tell her what an ass he sounds like and that she has every right to be treated like a princess and all that... but her mom hasn't stepped up to protect her daughter. He's still there and she is miserable. That leads me to believe that there are things the mother knows about the situation that are not being told here.. kinda like my DH knows how SD is with me & he knows all I've done for her... so my SD may relate with OP here, feeling like the victim, but not really looking at what she's doing to add to the situation that could actually help. That's why I suggested that to OP. It might help. And the other option is that the OP's mother, who obviously knows there's a problem if she's going to counseling with stepdad, is still doing nothing to "protect" her daughter.

How does that equate to me hating stepkids? I love kids & I think kids should be happy. The only way my SD is going to be happy, is for her father to leave me and she can have him all to herself. And that's up to him. He knows where the door is... I feel sorry for SD because she isn't getting what she wants/needs from her parents. She won't take it from me and my existence is not why she isn't getting it. She will find out if he does leave, that she still won't get what she wants. I find it very sad for her but it's not my problem to fix.

All OP can do is make changes in herself, she isn't going to change him.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:57PM
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So if a SD wants to be treated fairly and with respect, that equates to being treated like a princess? Only in IMA land.

I think your leading remark was uncalled for.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:02PM
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In IMA land, someone that complains over "reasonable" requests such as "don't touch my things" and says that from the beginning, he mistreated a dog in front of her so she has not trusted or respected him since... and that he has treated her differently all along but gets along great with her brother (If he is such a creep, why is the mom still married to him? Why does the brother get along with him?) and then she says she can't stand him and doesn't want a relationship with him so that is a context clue that she is not nice to him... sorry if the assumption is wrong but that's what I gather from her own words. She then is very critical of his whole family and says everyone thinks she's a spoiled brat... but, I'm sure everyone is wrong about that.

And yes, someone that doesn't think THEY need to be nice but expects to be treated nice... well, in my opinion THAT is a "princess". And it wouldn't matter if it's a bio or step kid. A brat is a brat.

My leading remark is "try being nice".

uncalled for... well it was made with the assumption that she is not being nice. I make (and explained) my assumption from my own experiences... my SD is not nice to me. My son was not nice to my DH. If a child cannot be nice, how do they expect to be treated nice? So, why should it be on the child to be nice? It shouldn't. I was nice to my SD but it did no good. My husband didn't go out of his way for my son like I did for his daughter, but he was kind & pleasant. He tried to be helpful. and if the OP's stepdad is not nice (nor has he ever been nice), it still might help her situation to "try to be nice". My stepmom once told me, when dealing with unpleasant people, to "kill 'em with kindness" and sometimes it works. Unfortunately with my SD, she has found a way to make every nice thing I have don for her, into something I have done TO her... she wants to be a victim. Not every situation can be fixed and all I am doing is offering my opinion.

You should offer yours if you have any... or are you only going to criticize mine?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Kaitie - I suspect your SF knows full well that you dislike him and think both he and his family are 'trailer trash', which, naturally, contributes towards his hateful attitude and behavior toward you. It would have to...

Please know that I'm NOT suggesting that your perceptions are wrong -- he DOES sound like a mean bully. But knowing your wife's kid hates you will naturally tend to bring out someone's worst, and cause him to think of that kid as a spoiled princess. You're in college full time - he didn't get that chance, did he? I bet he does the "No one ever gave me anything" speech on you...

It is possible that if you tried to be nicer, he might also try to be nicer.
Of course, it's also possible he will view your efforts as manipulative and scheming.

My advice -- Be as nice as you can be, get a part-time job, and save your money toward moving out at your earliest possible opportunity.

And for goodness sake, DON'T let this bully shape your self-esteem or self-image. Don't give him that much power over you. You sound like a very nice and worthy person to me.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:20PM
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--" I have considered therapy, but do not know how to bring this up to my mom."--

You are 21 and do not need Mom's opinions and/or permission to attend therapy. You stated you have a job. Does it offer any benefits to pay towards the therapy options?

Volunteering at shelter, taking care of the family's 40 animals, working a job and going to school full sounds as if you already have a pretty full plate. Is it time perhaps to review your schedule and priorities and train your immediate goals into moving up and up of the family home? You don't want a relationship with the guy, nor he with you...after 10 yrs I don't see much chance for your house suddenly turning into one big happy family now. I think your steps need to be in 'fixing' you. You can't 'fix' him. If you set your goal into getting your education, higher paying job (even it it means a bit less volunteer work) and setting yourself up to be independent of the childhood home you'll be able to focus on you, your happiness and young adult life rather than 'the jerk that smears his dirty hands all over your stuff'.

At 21 you're going to get different advice from me than if you were 10 or 13 or even 18. For whatever reason your mother has chosen to marry and remain with this guy. He isn't going away. It sounds like he has many of his own issues to deal with (or not, you can't 'fix' him if he doesn't want 'fixed'). Really, all that is left for you that you can control are you and your own actions.

Be civil or as stated above by others, 'be nice'. You are going to find as you grow-up and move through life, that there are all kinds of people out there. You're also find that some people you may not 'like' you have to at least tolerate and co-exist with. For example, you get a job and have to work side by side of a person not of your chosing, but you and this person have little choice but to 'get along' for 8 hours a day.

Your stepfather, from what you posted, does not sound like a very happy nor easy to get along with person (dragging helpless animals, yelling, ect). It also sounds as if he may not have had an easy childhood and is perhaps jealous of your childhood and so far easy entrance into adulthood. Again, these are his issues, you can't fix it for him. Focus on you, what you can do and what can help you.

Now go talk to Mom. You don't necessarily have to announce 'SDad is a jerk, I need therapy to cope with him', tell her simply you have decided you could use some professional assistance dealing with some of your own issues and learning a bit on perhaps who you are and where you want to go with your life. If you have no mental health benefits and/or perhaps you're covered under mother's plan and she refuses, inquire at school what may be available in their human resources and/or offered off campus but sliding scale ect. It's a start.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:31AM
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A few things stood out in OP's post to me -
"We have no relationship, and I really don't want to."

"I have never spoken to him except to ask a question."

"I'm the only thing my mom and him fight about,"

Based on these comments from the OP - I think Imma's perception is dead on. There are always two sides to every story, and I'm sure there is more than what the OP is telling, although what she did tell is revealing enough. Not too long ago we had someone post on here how her husband was so mean to her daughter, then lo and behold, the step father posts on here and come to find out things weren't exactly how the OP had protrayed them.

Who knows how the OP acts toward the stepfather and how much of it is his fault and how much is hers. But the fact is that both the brother and the mother have gotten along with step dad just fine for ten years now, and according to the OP's words, she is the ONLY thing her mother and step father fight about. Hmmmm, quite interesting.

I say she's 21 so she should be finished with her degree very soon. I agree with the others - she should get a job and move out ... and in the meantime just be a civil as possible.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 11:17AM
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This guy keeps his dog in a kennel until he's angry, & then he throws the dog around?

Being nice to an abuser won't make him nicer.
*Nothing* will make him nicer.

Although oftentimes wives don't realize their husbands' behavior & personality are abusive, both your mother & you are being mistreated.

Sit her down, (out of the house if possible, Starbucks or the park or someplace) & tell her, seriously & soberly & looking her in the eye, that this isn't a normal way to live, that nothing is going to change her husband's behavior (once you're out of the house & he can't pick a fight about you, he'll find something else to enrage/offend him), & that you both need a safe & calm environment.

Before you initiate this conversation, contact your nearest women's shelter & ask about legal help;

If the home belongs to your mother, she can likely get him out of there, so that you both can remain in the home & keep your animals;
even if it is in both their names or even in his name only, she may be able to get possession of it as the family home until the youngest child graduates or some such.

If that doesn't work, then all you can do is keep out of his way until you get your degree & can get away.

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Just wanting to clear some things up. When him and my mom first started dating, I was nice to him, and he was nice to me. It was when he moved in that we had a problem. He knew from the beginning that our entire family was big on animals. We fostered and raised at least 3 litters of orphaned kittens a year, and had been for many many years. That all stopped when he moved in. Stray cats that came around for months would suddenly "disappear" when we went out one day. He was a different person until he moved in. That is when I saw the abuse and yelling. My family does not believe in cursing in front of children. When he moved in the first day I remember he got mad and started with "f thing, f that, etc" my mom talked to him but he still will yell and scream for no apparent reason. He wakes up in bad moods and you have to walk on eggshells all day or something will break.

His "no touching things" only applies to his things. After we come back from the grocery store, he physically goes through the bags, pulls things out, and hides them throughout the house. He stands next to us at the sink to make sure we practically scrub our hands raw before we touch an almond. However, he has no problem coming in from outside, and tracking his dirty boots on the floor. His car is so filthy to the point that you can't see the floor. When he gets mad, he slams doors, or hits things which has resulted in a few broken dvd players, door locks, and most recently, the garage door.

He locks the garage that has gardening supplies that I use, along with his basement media room that leads to a storage room with some of my things. If I touch things in the house, I put them back in the same place I got them from. He literally marks water bottles with sharpies so that he knows if anyone has touched them.

He has never supported me in anything I have done. He never showed up to my elementary plays, softball games, or choir concerts all through high school. Yet he was my brother's baseball coach, and spends hours outside with him throwing a ball around. When I had a major patella realignment surgery and was on bed rest for two weeks, he called me a lazy b***h. However, when he had to have a meniscus tear repaired (which required no crutches afterwards) he took off work for 3 weeks and layed around the entire time doped up on medication.

The reason my mom and him had to attend therapy was because she was standing up for me. She knows how he treats me, and knows it is wrong. She has talked about divorce, but then he changes most of his habits for a few weeks and that goes away.

Finally, I do have a part-time job, but I also take 18 credits a semester. I pay my own phone bill, car insurance, gas, school books, clothes, and vet bills for my pets. I try to not be home as much as possible, but I cannot abandon my animals.

I only have one friend and she goes to school 3 states away. I spend my free time outside on nice days, or in my room on bad. I try to avoid as much as possible, but sometimes that is not possible. I am not a person that stands up for myself and I never have been. In the future, I will most likely be one of those people that are in a cubicle all by themselves on the computer and no one knows my name. I have no desire to be at the top of my career or run a team. All I want in life is to be happy and financially secure.

I just want to say that he has never been physically abusing with any of us. He takes it out of objects now. My mom and him seem to have an okay relationship, and my brother treats him like a god. Everyone outside says he is nice. I have talked to my mom and she does recognize that he treats me wrong. When people bring up that they notice I don't talk to him, my mom tells them how he treats me. Its not hidden and she has no problem telling people.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:46PM
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You say you only have one friend. And then you mention vet bills and that you can't abandon your animals, how many animals does your family have, and how many of those animals are yours? Are these a bunch of stray cats and dogs that you've taken in?

I wonder if maybe you are an animal hoarder and that's what the real problem is. Several times you've mentioned about his treatment of animals, which I am not excusing, but I wonder if that's the cause of the disagreements between you and your step father. You want to have a bunch of animals - (40 is a lot) and he probably doesn't.

Even if you are an animal hoarder you probably won't admit it, but I hope you do seek some therapy and help.

You say you only have one friend and she lives three states away, well, it's time to start making more human friends. You mean to tell me at that college you go to there isn't one person that would be willing to be room mates with you?

You say you work part time and take 18 credits a semester, well if you are THAT miserable you need to make a change. Cut your school hours back and start working full time. If I can work and go to school AND take of two kids, You can do it with no kids to take care of.
Or are you more interested in feeling sorry for yourself?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:14PM
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I'm not a horder. I have 3 cats of my own which I pay everything for. Our family total has 2 dogs 9 cats, 3 goats, and close to anywhere from 20-30 chickens at a time. I consider the livestock pets. We live on a farm, and I am the primary caregiver for all of them. All of our animals are happy, healthy, and UTD of shots.

As for people, I'm not a social person, and never have been. I have had one real friend since I was 10 years old. I have had boyfriends, and other friends, but they always seem to stab me in the back. Because of that, I tend to stick with animals. I do talk to people, but do not have relationships with any of them outside of class. I'm not miserable, I just have a lot on my plate. The term "princess" to me is someone who does not do what they are supposed to do, and gets whatever they want anyway. I was just stating that I do a lot and am not just someone who sits around waiting for other people to do things for me. I love the major I am in and do not plan on cutting back on school to work full time. I plan on graduating next year and going to grad school immediately after.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Katie, please, don't listent to Ima. She thinks all stepkids are terrible. You are not a princess, you sound like a great kid. Things will get better.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:43PM
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And KKNY thinks all stepchildren can do no wrong.

Don't listen to IMA continue to live a miserable life blaming your SF for your troubles don't do anything to try to change anything for the better ... just go tend to your animals.... life will be grand for you once you get your degree and move on with your life.

Not all SKs are terrible just the ones we live with! Because their birth mothers were he!! bent on making sure no one loves their kids like they do (even though they don't like their own child either)

Do you actually want to fix your relationship with SF??? or just find someone who will sympathize with you???

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Does KKNY have any ADVICE? Or is she just holding up her "Don't listen to IMA" picket poster? And now has a career in mind reading since she knows what I think??? LMAO

Nobody HAS to listen to me or anyone else here. It's a forum of opinions.. a multitude of opinions & advice. We all have different perspectives, experiences to draw on and of course, we can only offer our insight based on the often limited information given in the OP and follow up posts. The OP (or anyone else that might see something useful the their situation) may take what they want away from her and leave the rest. The only one on this thread that hasn't offered a sliver of advice or insight is KKNY.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:47AM
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Kaitie, I was not saying you are a "princess".. what I meant is that we can all agree with you and commiserate that your stepdad is a jerk & a generally miserable person and tell you that you deserve better & shouldn't have to put up with that (that's what I meant by "princess" and it wasn't really the right term but I type my thoughts fast sometimes & that was the word that popped in my head, but didn't mean it like you described here.) but that wouldn't really be helpful to your situation, unless what you are seeking is validation?

I get that you are busy, you do what you are supposed to and work hard. He obviously has a problem with something you do. He may have a reason or he may want to make up a reason, I don't know you and I don't know him so I can't say. The objective facts are what they are... others get along with him & you don't. I know it isn't easy when you have to live with someone that you can't get along with... for whatever reason. I'm in that same situation and it's frustrating. I keep myself busy and disassociate because it's my house & I can't leave. Unfortunately for you, he is probably not going anywhere unless your mom divorces him.

You are an adult now & the only logical answer is to figure out a way to move out... I mean, what other kind of advice would you expect to get? I offered "be nice" because if you kill him with kindness, he has to work at being a jerk and if he can't get the reaction he wants from you (if he is trying to push your buttons and make you miserable), then he will get frustrated if you refuse to react or be miserable. I would tend to agree that he is probably jealous of the life advantages you seem to have... college, living at home at 21. For some, that is normal but I worked to buy my own school clothes from the time I was 14. I had a job & my own apartment at 18 (& a baby). I had 3 kids by 21 & when I was 22, moved in with someone that had 100% custody of his 3 kids, so I had 6 kids in my care at 23. When I was 25, I worked full time & went to school full time. I guess my point to this is that if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to achieve it. Nothing is impossible.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:08AM
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Well, I think he sounds like a class A jerk and that OP's MOM should step in and protect her. She may legally be an adult but this has been going on for 10 years. To me this sounds like an abusive situation for her. 18 credits? You go girl!! I'm proud of you and the sooner you can graduate the sooner you can get the heck out of there.

Maybe you could start looking around for a roommate situation, perhaps a single gal in a house that also likes and appreciates pets. Check your college paper and bulletin boards. Doesn't mean you have to be a social butterfly if your more of a keep to yourself person but if you could find someone else that's quiet and enjoys pets you might be able to get out sooner. Just keep it all on the downlow til you can get out. I think keeping away from him as much as possible is wise.

I'm so sorry things are so rough for you. Do you think your mother doesn't do something about this because she is afraid of him physically?

((Hugs)) Take care.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:38AM
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Well, I'm not going to sit here and type that the OP is the problem because the jerk gets along with everyone else. I of course don't know what is really going on in OP's home but a few things to keep in mind 1) there are different types of abuse other than phyiscal 2) abusers sometimes pick specific targets.

Obviously a man who stands over a 21 yr old and watches them wash their hands to his liking and marks water bottles is not a normal functioning guy. A man who has days with episodes of explosive behavior being caused by merely getting out of bed in the morning, is not a normal functioning guy.

--" Our family total has 2 dogs 9 cats, 3 goats, and close to anywhere from 20-30 chickens at a time. I consider the livestock pets. We live on a farm, and I am the primary caregiver for all of them. All of our animals are happy, healthy, and UTD of shots. "--

This is likely not a 'hoarder' considering it's in a rural farm setting. It's a fairly normal rural setting farmette. Barn full of kitties, a watchdog or two and a few hens for eggs and perhaps selling Sunday noon roasting chicken. You could even toss in a horse in the last stall. Along with a goat pen you'd pretty much have a 4-H rural family farm thing going on. Toss in a couple way too many rows of veggie beds and you might even have discovered the way some farm kids have earned their way through education expenses (summer stands).

All that said, it still does not get OP out of the current dilemma. No matter if OP shed all the animals, was as sweet as sugar to the guy, and stored her gardening/barn tools in a new location, it is not going to make much difference. The guy is still going to be obessed with hands, food, and 'my my my'. He's still going to toss and break things 'when he's in a mood'. It's who he is. He seems to have no desire to 'fix' and OP can not 'fix' it for him.

Go get your therapy Kaitie. Your mother may want to remain a victim (you can't force Mom to follow Sylvia's advice), but you can take steps to begin to 'fix' you and get yourself up and out. I don't think this is all about stepparent and/or stepkid. From just reading the couple postings, it sounds like a whole lot of 'issues' from several sources...believe it or not, what you've described as your homelife can and does occur in intact nonblended families, abuse and dysfunction are not unique to stepfamilies.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 5:31AM
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Ok, so you're not a hoarder, I'm was only trying to read between the lines and see where the problem might be, thanks for clarfying.

"I love the major I am in and do not plan on cutting back on school to work full time. I plan on graduating next year and going to grad school immediately after."
Okay, so you don't want to sacrifice to get out of your current situation, so I don't know what else to tell you. I really can't figure out why you posted on here then.

Like the others have asked, do you want to work on things with your stepfather or are you just looking for somewhere to vent?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:37PM
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If he is as horrible as you describe, it is somewhat hard for me to understand why your mom would stay married to him for 10 years... choosing whatever she gets out of it over her own daughter's mental health and happiness. I mean, you are suffering from low self esteem & social anxiety & she stays married to him... she doesn't "protect" you from his treatment of you? Where does she stand in this

Ima - some people just stay where they are and do not put their children first. For example: my ex. He is married to a miserable woman who treats my daughter with contempt on a daily basis. Just recently my daughter described her dad as being miserable and never stands up for himself or for he (his own daughter). She too has asked 'why would my dad marry someone that is so evil and why doesn't he stand up for me or himself. Maybe this mom also suffers from low self esteem and doesnt know how to stand up to her own husband and is not in a financial position to stand up for her daughter. My mom has told me that when we were younger she often thought of leaving my stepdad because he was not so nice but she couldn't afford to be a single mom again and she just dealt with it. Over the years he changed, especially as we got older and out of the house and now is not a problem at all. Becoming a grandpa sure lightened him up a bit... But it was because of money my mom stayed. I'm glad she did because in the end it did get better. It ended up being a 'he didn't know how to be a father' situation and he had to learn how to be one. It just took time. His expectations were very high when we were teens. Almost unrealistic.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:40PM
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One other possible roommate thought Kaitie -- Often, an older person wants to stay in his/her home but isn't quite capable of doing it completely on their own. Free room and board in exchange for light care-taking and errands is not that unusual an arrangement and quiet female college students are the care-takers of choice for many.

If you think this might be something you could handle, I'd talk to a few doctors and clergy-people in your community and let them know you're looking for an opportunity like that. Could be a way out of an abusive situation, and also a way to help rebuild your self-esteem and get some nice work/life experience on your resume...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:23PM
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I do agree with ima and quite often take her advice. She is possibly the one poster than can give advice from the other side and merely pointed out what 'could' be going on with stepdad. His side of the story could be quite different from the one we are reading here. However, my daughter has a stepmother that is just as crazy. I agree with JMT that being in a bad mood simply because he got out of bed is not a mentally stable man.

OP I think your best option is to buckle down, get done with school, get a good job that can support you and get out of there. I agree with counseling. This will help with your self esteem and maybe even can give you more advice on how to deal with sf and how to manage the emotions you must have living with someone that treats you so bad. You do not have to take it but you are of the age where you are able to leave and I think you need to start making the arrangements to do so. For your own sake and mental well being.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Hi Katie,

Will you be going to grad school at the same school or moving? Many grad schools provide finanical aid, not based on parents income (not true for professional school though). As difficult as this is, you may have to give up caring for the animals, and concentrate on yourself. If you find that your remaining "family" isnt taking care of them, you should call the local humane society.

I take IMA at her word that she worked and went to school, but that doesnt work for everyone, and may depend on how demanding the school is.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Another suggestion as to your animal friends, Kaitie, if you don't feel you can trust their safe and well keeping, would be to ask around in your farming community. If you have to find them good homes, this might work for you (knowing they would be taken care of and happy). If your farming acquintances have kids they may appreciate a well taken care of pet for their children (or a new 4-H project ect) and most have a need for the kitties to help the barn mouse population. If you know one with a few chickens now, they may be willing to take in a few more.

Yes, I know, it's a hard thing to do, this is your lifestyle and you enjoy both it and your critters, but something may have to give. You're miserable in your current situation and you may have to start making some hard decisions. Once you know your animals friends have good homes, it perhaps could free you up to do some of the other bits of advice/suggestions others have given.

Not to come down on you, but you seem to want an easy out here. Kinda like havivng your cake and eating it too type thing. You want things to change, yet you want things to stay the same...that can't always happen, none of us live in a perfect world and have things exactly as we'd like it. There is no magic wand that if suddenly going to make homelife all better. If you 'work' at trying to make things more tolerable on your part, you'll still have the elements that you can't control (such as the guy with all his issues).

Moving ahead and doing whatever you have to do to make that happen is really your only option. Nobody here can advise you on how to make the guy tolerable so you can hang in there a couple more years. Nobody here can 'fix' any of it for you. Only you can do that. Only you can decide if you were really just wanting to vent here or if you're ready to make some hard choices and follow through. You can't 'fix' your entire household, you can't 'fix' those who don't want 'fixed' and the way things currently right are not working for you. It really is in your hands to decide what/where you go from here.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Well, KKNY... I attended community college so I'm sure it wasn't nearly as demanding as real college. I commuted to work 30 minutes away so I was up at 4:30-5 (to get things set out for all 6 kids) before leaving for work at 6:30. I worked 7am-4pm. Drove home & fixed dinner, checked homework & drove 15 minutes to be in class 4 days a week from 7pm-10pm. I also took a Saturday morning class. I took a total of 16 units. I would often stay up until 1 or 2am to get homework done. I also did homework on my lunch hour at work. On my "free" night during the week, I was a den mother for my son's cub scout. Weekends were spent doing homework & kids' activities (scouting, little league & dance recitals)

I did have my BF that sent the kids off to school after I left to work, and he did serve the dinner I fixed, took them to practice and put them to bed. So, I did have some help but, I had to work errands like shopping for groceries & things the kids needed, into my lunch hour or weekends (and sometimes on my way to school)

It wasn't the same as being a single young lady with no children that works full time and goes to college full time... but I think others have done that and it CAN be done. I actually thought Sweeby's idea of finding a live in position as a "helper" to be the best suggestion. There are lots of elderly or disabled people that want to live independently but need some assistance. Things like light housekeeping & grocery shopping... and would leave lots of time to study.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 2:54PM
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you need to stop focussing on your stepfather, and start focussing on yourself and your own life. It doesn't matter if he does silly things or likes your brother better than you. So what? That's his problem, not yours. He may never have a good opinion of you. Again, so what? There's nothing you can do about it so don't waste your time fretting about it.

Focus on your schooling, your friends and things that enrich your life. As long as you're living in his house, you will make your life easier (and reduce the stress on your mother) by being pleasant and ignoring anything that annoys you but doesn't really harm you.

You will soon be independent and able to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your mother and stepfather. In the meantime, don't waste another minute of your precious youth worrying about things that you can't change.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:44PM
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As a mother with a child who is being mistreated by his stepfather I can relate to how awful it can feel to have someone so difficult in your life. Being rejected consistently for a long period of time hurts, especially when the same person can treat your sibling so much better. This is the case with my own husband; treating my son like he's the worst, always assuming his intentions are bad, etc. Yet my daughter is a princess who can do no wrong; she can backtalk and misbehave but it is "cute" when she does it. My son isn't the only thing we fight about, but it's the biggest thing, and even without my son being "the problem" there would still be issues. I have taken measures to protect my son as best I can, but it is still disappointing and sad that my husband acts this way.

The biggest thing to face (for myself and probably your mom) is that breaking up a marriage is a very serious decision and the consequences of that can be worse than what is going on now. Especially since your SD sounds like my DH in his abusive/controlling ways. Many times things can get worse when one spouse tries to leave the abusive spouse. I'm giving you my perspective because it sounds like your mom is doing what she can and taking everything into consideration.

Ultimately it is up to your mom to decide if she wants to get away from this guy but for you, you are old enough to get out of that situation and carve out your own existence. It is true that with most people being kind goes a long way. It is also true that someone with abusive values is not going to change easily or even willingly. That is out of your hands.

I do think therapy would help you process your feelings and build more resilience in you so that you can mature into a strong, confident person. Try to get out of there and as hard as it may be you might have to consider getting rid of your animals or making arrangements for someone else to take care of them. There is a lot of good advice given to you by several people here. Please look for the common themes in these responses and listen to your gut.

There are some books you may like to read: Why does he DO that? by Lundy Bancroft would be a good one, and others on the subject of emotional abuse. This is not meant to vicitmize you or give you reason to feel like a victim, but there is good information which can give you insight and help you gain the inner strength that you are looking for.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Tryingmybest, I am not certain I understand what you are saying. Are you saying your husband mistreats your child? Becuase that is on you. IMHO, you have to take your care of your child.

I do think OP has to concentrate on getting out of there, please keep up posted.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Pedophiles sometimes treat the child they're molesting like a little princess.

"Breaking up a marriage" is *nothing* when your spouse mistreats one child & maybe the other.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:27PM
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There is a lot of advice above, and I agree with a lot of it and I also disagree with a lot of it. I wanted to share on your topic because I feel like I grew up in a very similar situation. I always felt I was walking on egg shells waiting for the next big blow up over things I never saw coming. The truth is, whether you move out tomorrow or 3 years from tomorrow, these issues are going to stay with you in your life whether you address them directly with your stepdad or not. You should look into counseling. So many issues from my childhood have impacted my adult life. Whether you mend your relationship with your stepdad or not, you need to mend yourself. I, too, was a very passive receiver of a lifetime of misdirected anger. I was able to come to terms with the fact that so much of his anger wasn't over anything I'd done, but years of hurt in HIS childhood. But conditioning myself to not stand up for myself has led to problems in my adult relationships and my worki. Talking through your anger and getting advice on how to develop healthy communication is really important.

Only you know what is in your heart and what is best for you, but you can always consider going to school part time. Graduation will always be there, but you need to take care of yourself emotionally as well as financially. If you are miserable at home, you can't give 100% of yourself in any other area of your life. For me, it took moving out and creating my own sustainable life for my stepdad to finally let go of some of his anger toward me.

I'm not trying to sway you in any one direction, I just hope a similar situation can offer some insight as to what has worked for me. Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 5:44PM
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