Adult step chilren
I have read reams on the internet about step-familes and all the problems and resentments that can bring. I have been in the pits of despair and the heights of frustration trying to find answers to my dilemma. Of course, the answers inevitably lie within yourself, your experiences and your emotional well-being.
I am writing my story in the hope it will give insight and help to anyone else going through the same thing. When you spend your days stressing about something, waiting for the next incident, dreading certain occasions and interactions in your life itÂs time to evaluate just what itÂs all about.
Where do I start? IÂll rename my H ÂBobÂ and my SD ÂDaisyÂ.
Daisy was 12 going on 13 when I met Bob. It would appear the two of them had always been very close. I believe it was even starting to cause problems in BobÂs previous marriage.
He recounted when they were at a family party, BM wanted to leave and take Daisy with her, as it late. Daisy cried and clung to Bob who said she could stay. This caused a row between BM & Bob.
He gave me many of these examples trying to make BM look like a nasty monster.
I understand how a 12 year old isnÂt going to take kindly to a new woman in her fatherÂs life, taking his attention. She was just a child, with not many friends who clung to a father more than happy to make her 100% reliable on him.
She had had BobÂs attention all her life Â she wasnÂt going to relinquish that easily.
Bob also has a son 8 years younger than SD who this closeness did not apply to.
I have 3 children.
During those earlier years, there were many upsets and arguments Â too many to list here, but Daisy was almost always at the bottom of it. Her resentment wasnÂt just aimed at me, but also at my children and on occasions, even her own brother. She would delight in Âtell-talingÂ and getting the others into trouble. Bob always picked fault with my kids Â they could never do anything right, and if they ever did, there would be no praise from Bob. I donÂt want to sound like Âpoor meÂ in all this, and looking back I donÂt understand why I let it happen. I spent my life trying to keep Bob happy. He spent his life keeping Daisy happy.
Into her teenage years SD continued to spend large amounts of time with Bob Â she used to take him shopping a lot, get him to take her and pick her up from places, used him as a bank and a taxi service. If ever I dared to protest I would be aggressively accused of jealousy. During this time I am convinced Daisy made Bob promise her never to have a child with me and never to marry me.
I accused him of it once and he never denied it.
Among all the debris that it would take a book to describe, there are one or two incidents that hurt me beyond measure and that stick in my mind to this day.
I had bought Bob a shirt for Christmas. Everyone said how great it looked on him. I made a casual remark that he could wear it for DaisyÂs 18th (planned for end Jan). Lo and behold, a few days before the party Daisy asks Bob to take her shopping, and yes, she makes him buy a shirt to wear for her 18th. I asked Bob which shirt he would wear. He snapped, ÂDaisyÂs Â does it matter???Â
It mattered to me. It was typical behaviour. We had a row. Next thing Bob tells me, ÂDaisy doesnÂt want you to come to her 18th.Â
So Bob went off happily with Daisy to the 18th leaving me at home.
(I must admit, I sat at home drinking vodka until I was quite drunk Â took the shirt out of the wardrobe Â cut it into a thousand pieces Â put it in a carrier bag Â walked down to the party venue and sent the carrier bag into Bob with my best wishes. I know it wasnÂt a very mature thing to do, but it made me feel better!)
We did get married after 9 years of being together. I admit I pushed him into it because he said he wasnÂt ready. I moved into the spare room until he WAS ready. He was ready in 3 days.
I pushed him because I wanted that commitment from him Â my mum was in poor health and I wanted her to see us married Â and I felt weÂd been together quite long enough for it.
I was hoping Daisy would meet someone and then the torture would end.
We did have a bit of a break when she took to going out, meeting boys etc. During the time when Daisy left school at 16, to aged 18, she got herself into Â£13,000 worth of debt with credit cards and loans. Naturally Bob wanted to bail her out. We took a second mortgage on our house (we were having improvements, the garden etc done too) so we lent her Â£10,000 of that.
Eventually she met someone and got engaged. She extracted almost all the cost of the wedding from us bit by bit. To cut a long story short, she managed to buy an ex council flat for a discount price of Â£54,000. House prices were soaring then. When she eventually wanted to move the flat was worth Â£96,000. I thought Âgreat, weÂll get our money back.Â She had other ideas, and told me, ÂIf we pay you back, we wonÂt be able to get the house we want.Â I said it would still need to be paid. We needed it.
She went ahead with the house without mentioning the loan again. Another big fall -out for Bob and I. I insisted she pay it back. In the end she borrowed it and she did pay it back Â but she hated me even more for that.
I could go on and on with endless anecdotes like that, but IÂll fast forward to the present.
She is now 31 years old with 2 children. If I ever thought things would improve when she had her own family I must have been deluded! With the added leverage 2 little cherubs provide, my life turned from a bad dream to a nightmare.
She has always been more like a wife than a daughter to Bob. They confide in one another Â he tells her about the disagreements we have and any other of our business. She discusses her husband and her daily life with him. He runs my children (now grown up) down to her and lets her know any gossip about them. This, in effect, has divided the family.
If they don't see one another they are phoning & texting several times a day. He often visits her without telling me - also he has always giving her money. Couple years ago he paid her mortgage 2 months in a row - Â£700 per time - in secret. I found out completely by chance.
There was big trouble over that - and he promised not to go behind my back again.
Since then - he just does things he thinks I won't find out. He tells me he feels like 'piggy in the middle' and I can see that he thinks if he keeps us both separate, that's the answer.
He has admitted she hates me - not that I've ever said a bad word to her (although she knows I have certainly complained loudly about her to her Bob because he tells her). My biggest crime is being with her dad.
I will admit the feeling is mutual and I cannot stand her.
I did make an effort in the early days but it was like banging my head on a brick wall. I have also asked myself if I am just jealous Â yet other people can also see the manipulation.
She made Bob buy her 4 year old a mobile phone for giving up his dummy. I thought they meant a toy phone until they got back from the shop. Yep! A real mobile phone for a 4 YEAR OLD!!!
Daisy married a very weak man whom she dominates completely. I canÂt see any love there, but she seems to do, say and buy things so that she can feel ÂnormalÂ (sheÂs now weighs approx 25 stone Â thatÂs 350 pounds). I have often felt sorry for her for being that overweight, yet she lost a lot of weight for her wedding, then piled it back on again. She even admitted to drinking a bottle of wine every night while she was pregnant. Needless to say, my sympathy bouts donÂt last long.
I used to think she was highly manipulative and my husband was just weak and feeling 'guilty' for 'leaving' the children when his marriage broke up.
I now think that my husband is doing exactly what he wants to do - has probably ruined his daughters life - and actually enjoys having the both of us 'fighting over him'.
It all came to a head at the beginning of November 2008.
Daisy had again blamed my son for something she had done. Bob started on him and ended up calling him, Âa ****ing lazy B*****dÂ.
I snapped and ashamed to say I smacked Bob around the head. It was as if 19 yearÂs worth of frustration and anger came out in that moment. The sheer force of my feelings frightened me. I realised I could not afford to ever get into that state again. I moved into the spare room. After 5 weeks I moved out. I didnÂt tell him I was going Â he would have stopped me and more importantly, stopped me taking the computers etc I needed to continue to admin the business so that we both could still get a living.
I still loved this man and was full of confusion and depression.
He turned up on the doorstep promising to change. We had a long talk Â I explained my feelings, everything Â how I didnÂt blame Daisy and that I thought he should never have given her the power he did Â that he should have set boundaries and limits. He agreed with everything I said.
Shortly after that we arranged to go out for the evening. An important evening because it was the first time we had been out since I left home. There was a lot of bonding to do.
Five minutes after arranging that and saying goodbye, he phoned me to say that, Âsorry, I completely forgot I promised to take my mum to DaisyÂs birthday gathering on Saturday. I said, ÂCould someone else take her?Â He said, ÂI really wanted to go myself.Â I said. ÂCan you go for an hour or so, then we can go out?Â
It wasnÂt a ÂspecialÂ birthday Â just a small gathering of family & one or friends. He had loads of time to see her in the day, too.
Next thing is he said to me, ÂWeÂre never going to get anywhere if you donÂt get over your jealousy of Daisy.Â
Back to square one.
Other stuff has happened since then, proving without a doubt that I will never be No. 1 in BobÂs life.
I have also realised how controlling he is and that the situation with Daisy was actually a form of triangulation.
I believe that men (or women) who truly love their partner will work with them to overcome problems with children/step-children. The only way to do it is as a team. If you have a partner who refuses to listen to your feelings, the chances are you are in a controlling relationship and nothing will ever change.
It has taken me 19 years to learn this. Yes Â I had good times, but far too many miserable ones.
I have now let go of my marriage and am looking forward to a peaceful future, without the daily anxiety and itÂs great!
If you're not already bored silly with this very long post, I would be happy to share experiences and give anyone the benefit of everything I've learned over the years.