step daughters mom died and now she lives with us........

theevilstepmomApril 24, 2009

Well, it has been a rough couple years. I have been married to my husband for 10 years. He has two kids from two previous relationships. My SS is 19 and has lived with us since we got married, his mom signed her rights away when he was 12 and I did a step parent adoption. My SD, who is 14, lived with her mom until almost two years ago when her mother, who was bi-polar, killed herself. I have done everything in my power to be there for this kid. When she moved in I spent 3 wks and $700 decorating her bedroom to make her feel more at home, I have taken her to movies just us two, I have went dress shopping for her dance, spent hours talking with her when she was missing her mom, picked her up from school, taken her to doc apps, and just everything I do for my own two daughters.... and then some, even to a degree where my daughter feels left out at times or like I have given more attention to my SD than her. matter what I do and how hard I try it is never enough. My step daughter truly hates me. She has written that down before on paper and even wrote once that she wishes I would die. If I correct her for not following a rule of the house or not wearing appropriate clothes I am 'mean'. I can spend hours with her doing something and ten minutes later if I get onto her (no different than my own daughter) immediantly I am 'mean' to her and she is back to hating me for weeks. My SD's grandma is a source of alot of these problems. She seems to think of me as the devil and the two of them bad mouth me so bad on her visits with her that she comes home in these awful hateful moods to me. Well, for years I have handled the whole 'evil step mom' sterotype.... we all have. I undertand and even expect to be seen as the 'bad guy' to my step kids, my SD's grandma, and all the outsiders looking in that have never had to be a step parent..... but now all of a sudden I get onto her the other night and have been so aggrevated with her lately.... and my husband tells me that "SD has done nothing wrong to me, I am the adult and I need to deal. the way I handle things with her are wrong and mean" so....... I have toughed it out through many things with my blended family, because through it all I thought my husband and I were a team and as long as we stay united it would all work out. I am now made aware it is not that way. I am seem by SK's and my husband as the bad guy in what is quickly becoming a divided household. I can tell my own daughter "I said do it now get it done" just like any parent when they have said 3 times to do a chores or pick something up..... I can say the same thing in the same way to SD and she and my husband think I am mean to her. Her behavior is insane. the things she gets away with aggrivate me to no end. I try to say 'ok, I will let him deal with her and her behavior', but he doesn't and then I am getting hounded by the school teachers with emails about what she did that day. Also, ignoring her and her bad behavior doesn't work because our two little daughters (ages 10 and 6) are watching all of this and thinking it is acceptable behavior and it is not. I have tried to be patient and understanding to what she has been through...... I can't imagine. But, the constant strain on our home over this is too much. SD takes up 70% of my husbands time with her needs, her tantrums, her getting in trouble with school. And you can't go anywhere and try to enjoy yourself b/c you never know how she is gonna behave. We try to go out to eat and have a nice dinner and she crosses her arm, puts her hair in her face and throws a temper tantrum over whatever event took place that day to piss her off. My daughter (10) tries to talk about her friend or what happened to her that day at the dinner table and SD is constantly putting her down and saying "okay, thats not even funny" or whatever her rude comment is that day. No one can speak their mind without her rude comments. And husband allows it, but if our 10 year old says something to SD then she is yelled at by husband. Why is everything based around her? Why is she treated kinder and more understood by him than the rest of us? I once was told by someone that I seem to "resent SD because of her intrusion on my household"..... this was about a year ago and I remember thinking 'that is a rude comment... this poor kid.... how could I resent her? ......she has had a hard life...." I took that comment very hard and felt so insulted that someone thought I was so mean to feel that way towards this kid who I had always shown much love to.... since she was 3. But....... that comment is beginning to make more and more since. As awful as it makes me feel to admit... I think I am beginning to feel that way. I want to be this great SM who is there for this kid and helps her make it through this rough time and grow into a healthy adult, but I am becoming increasingly aggrivated and worn out with her antics and often embarrassing behavior. I am resentful that she is constantly the focus in the house, over me and all the other kids. I am tired of not being able to go on vacation or to dinner or a family event without worrying about how she is gonna behave. And now the final blow was hearing my husband say he felt I was being mean to her. That he also felt I was the 'bad guy' and I cause most of the problems between me and her. Wow. That is hard to hear. Cried myself to sleep. I am not this mean person. I am very kind and caring..... but this situation is making me nutts and is turning me into this resentful person. I feel like my two daughters are losing me. The real me. And I can't believe my own husband now feels like SD does about me. Why bother if no one appreciate me or sees how I have tried? Even the person who is suppose to be there for me and put me first thinks I am mean to his child. I feel so lost and depressed and feel that the family and marriage I have worked so hard on for 10 years is falling apart. Any advice please share. Thank you for your time.

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Usually I hate counseling. But in this case I think suggesting some family counseling to dh is a good idea. Maybe just say something along the lines of it will help sd deal with losing her mom and it will help you be a better parent to sd. Maybe a counselor can help you and sd have a better relationship and help dh see where he should draw the line on certain behaviors.

It sounds like you have really tried here and are getting put down for no reason. I think your dh feels guilt over sd's situation with her mom dying and her behavior. He does not want her to be mad at him so he tries to play nice guy. Its a bad idea though and will backfire on him.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:06PM
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I second what mom2emall said. Counseling would probably be very beneficial for everyone in this case. Even if your DH balks at the idea, you could go yourself. I think if you can't get your DH on board with you, then you probably need to disengage with love from SD. Let DH parent her.

It does sound like your SD has had a rough go of things and with 2 year since her mother's death, she is still probably going through the grief process over that. Has SHE been in any counseling after her mother's suicide? I think it would be hard enough to lose your mother but then to lose her to suicide...I can't even imagine. :( I am not making excuses for your SD's behavior, but just saying that she probably really needs a safe haven to work through her emotions.

I also agree with mom2emall that your DH probably feels guilty and sad for what has transpired in his DD's life, and he is trying to "make it up to her." Again, this will only backfire on him, and unless he gets on the same page as you--it's better for you to let him handle his responsibilities.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:44PM
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yes DH for sure feels guilt. He fears being too hard on her because she gets so emotional. And everytime he yells at her she goes into this depression. Most kids can handle being gotten onto by a parent, but she just goes to the extreme. Her mother was bi-polar and I have wondered many times if SD possibly could be too. God forbid I were to say that out loud to her Dad, but I have wondered. She can be VERY loud and hyper and then VERY depressed and hateful. It is strange. I fear that by letting her get away with things and giving her the easy road is teaching her to use her mother's death as a crutch in life. I don't want her to be on drugs at 16 and say 'well, it's b/c my mom died'......I just worry that is what people are teaching her to do. I for one wanted her to learn to persevere through this.

And yes, DH thinks counseling is a joke. He won't go. He thinks it is a waste of money and he can handle his own family. He also fears a counselor putting blame on him for anything. He sees it as he would be bashed by me and the counselor or something. IDK

I am beyond devastated that DH told me he thought I was mean to SD and that I am the source of me and SD not getting along. I feel that all I have done was for nothing. I used to think even if my SD didn't appreciate it, that her Dad did appreciate it. Now I know he didn't. He does'nt even see all I have done. I don't have a reason to fight anymore. I already felt like why bother and now that I don't have DH support, I really feel like throwing in the towel. I needed us to remain a team, but she has devided and conquered.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I want to sympathize and understand how you feel but am finding it difficult. My reason is that everyone can't be wrong, and it really makes me wonder to have come from someone who is not a family member. Take a deep breath and try to be objective. I know that is hard to do, but you have to recognize and acknowledge what I said - everyone can't be wrong, or not everyone can be wrong (however it's best stated). I know you have been trying very hard. I know you are tired and worn out. But, all the reasons are very subjective. You are only seeing your own point of view and rejecting what others say. Given there are those other than just your stepdaughter, there has to be a smidgeon of truth. Everything you do, every effort, and every major attempt you make to be nice and accommodating can all be negated by the way you handle other occurrences during daily life. How you treat your own daughters in some situations may not be so nice as you think, so there's no reason to think all is well just because they don't complain. It might be that they are accustomed and learned to expect your way of acting and doing things. For example, the way you speak to SD might be a way she is not accustomed to. Yes of course, we all yell at our children, but that doesn't make it okay. Your daughters are used to being yelled at.

I'm playing devil's advocate here because you don't. You are not objective and don't take criticism constructively. You make it personal and subjective, and you are rejecting it because it doesn't confirm you, your way of thinking, and the fact that you have made considerable effort to be understanding and spend time with her. You can't assume something nice you do is supposed to spare you anything. If you were more objective about their criticisms, you would ask one of these people how or in what way they feel you are mean; how or in what way they feel you could handle the various situations differently. I'm not trying to blame you for stepdaughter's behavior. I am trying to point out you might need to look at your own behavior.

At the same time, there is no excuse for SD's behavior and no excuse for DH allowing it. Your household is disrupted and could be falling apart as you say, but that's because you allow it to happen for the most part. Stepdaughter came into your home resenting and rejecting the way you run it. DH is not listening to you because you are not talking, you're just defending yourself. I suggest you begin talking objectively. If he still doesn't listen, then what are you trying to hold on to with a man who doesn't respect you and a child he allows to run the house and be a bad influence on the other children?

If you decide on counseling, you don't need someone to talk to. Stepdaughter might need that for grief counseling but for family counseling, you need step-by-step results-focused instructions that walk all of you through the how-tos. Don't waste your time and money with someone who just sits and listens to your complaints.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 2:10PM
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Well I think i can give you a different perspective.
On Sd and they way she is, i understand. I lost my mother to cancer when i was 11 1/2 years old. So...looking back on those years now, i now see that i was also a very negative , angry individual. I felt that life was unfair and that i was jipped by my mother's death. I focused alot of hate on my own father and i wasnt' the most warm person when he tried to meet woman. My first SM was to me terrible. Not to me but to her kids and i was indifferent to her. My second was amazing. Why? She did'nt infringe on my space. Thought or physical.She let me go to her ...not the other way around.
You said you spend money and alot of time to get to know her and fix her room....a bonding when she was no where near being ready to do that with you. I understand your intention were good. I dont think you are a bad person...but it was too soon for this year and she was just thrown into your house without the choice. Plus grandma sounds like a B**ch....So that didn't help you cause.
Your husband. Is an *ss for what he has done to you as a friend adn partner in marriage. I would be more concerned with him. He sounds like my husband who didnt' want couciling i basically told him that we are either on the same page or we are not. The day i see him taking his kids side over me , is the day we divorce. I made it very clear to him. The kids fall under the marriage. UNDER the parents. THey are not equal to the parents or more important. All the, or step..
THe main issue to address is your husband. Speak to him and stand you ground with him to clear state you treat each child the same and his daughter will be no different. You've put time and effort and she hates you?? Normal, she has emotional issues. Sit down with hubby and tell him how you feel and tell him you were hurt by his comment. That sd is part of our family and will be treated the same...she should not be treated special because mommy died. .....Does she also have biopolar???? This could also be an issue of behaviour.
Question...How was your SS with you ? Was it good? Was your husband at his defense when something came up divided or did he agree with you? Cause if he was fine with him , then you should remind your hsuband how he was with his son and you and that sd does not and will not get any special treatment.
In the end , if he continues to act this way, warn him it will be the demise of your marriage. If he wants to do that its his choice but you know what, pull back from her and let her dad handle her. Take care of your daughters and when she mouths off to them, you defend them tooth and nail and take it on with your hubby.
Go to counciling for your own piece of can't force you husband but you can put your foot down with him..and if he doesn't like it...sorry tosay...tell him to take the door. You are either a team or you are not.
Yes its harsh..but i noticed that some men here are wishy washy with their daughters and need to have it put straight in their face without suttletees...
I have a friend of mine , whos' friend at work divorced because daddy put their own daughter above the marriage..well....they divorced and dad has custody because mom doesnt' want her. Its happens...but its a crazy world.
1. Take a break from her and step back.
2. Go to counciling and see what they say.
3. Keep open honest calm communication with hubby for now.
4. Let him handle her. She views you with hate because she has alot of emotions to deal with....leave her have some space. Its important.
5. Concentrate on your girls now and leave her with will be divided for a time but it wont last forever.
6. Connect with hubby again and keep connected for your relationship.....because if that goes...its dangerous for the futur. Tell him you will back off on sd but that he must be responsible for her since she has issues with you.
7 . YOU: Expect nothing from chores...her homework? your hubbies problem....expect nothing...Focus on your girls.
Your sd is angry, hurt and still trying to get over the loss of her mom...she sees you in the 'mother' position and she hates that...not you personally. She is too young to separate the two. She'll be like this for a while...i know..i went through it. Give her space.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 3:38PM
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My Ex husband is bi-polor and my children all suffer from some sort of mental issues. 2 are ADHD and one has anxiety. They all have issues that look like PTSD from witnessing abuse from their dad. I talked with my Ex-MIL and found out that she and my ex and both his brothers all have mental illness. If her mother was Bi-Polor she very well could be too. Maybe read up on it. Some things you can do like watch her diet or attention to things that might trigger mood swings lack of sleep and highs and lows. Treat her as if she is and see how that works for a while. You might have a private appointment with her PCP and see if they might have some ideas. If your child needed glasses you wouldn't not get them for them. Mental illness isn't any different. If she needs help get it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 3:41PM
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I agree with a lot of what Thermometer said, very well put.

Also, there's a very good book called "Motherless Daughters" that explains a lot of what daughters of absent mothers go through and how they feel.

Additionally, there's been a lot of research that says that children do not feel that a stepparent is truly a parent until they children have reached double their age with a stepparent. So, your SD was 12, she likely won't feel you are a true parent to her until she is 24. And that is taken into consideration how well you handle this.

So with that said, I think you should not do any disciplining. She needs time with her Dad. The book will explain very well how most daughters feel after losing their mom, and in their research most felt that stepmom's made their situation worse, rather than better. It's not your fault, I can see where you are trying to help. But pick up that book so you can see where your SD is coming from. Most stepchildren are not allowed to voice what they are really thinking, this book will help you.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 4:03PM
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