Adult step chilren

dunmoaninApril 21, 2009

Hi Everyone,

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 ÂBob 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.

For example:

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  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  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-taling and getting the others into trouble. Bob always picked fault with my kids  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 me 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  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  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  took the shirt out of the wardrobe  cut it into a thousand pieces  put it in a carrier bag  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  my mum was in poor health and I wanted her to see us married  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 £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 £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 £54,000. House prices were soaring then. When she eventually wanted to move the flat was worth £96,000. I thought Âgreat, weÂll get our money back. She had other ideas, and told me, ÂIf we pay you back, we wonÂt be able to get the house we want. 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  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  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 - £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  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 Ânormal (sheÂs now weighs approx 25 stone  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  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  I explained my feelings, everything  how I didnÂt blame Daisy and that I thought he should never have given her the power he did  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? He said, ÂI really wanted to go myself. I said. ÂCan you go for an hour or so, then we can go out?Â

It wasnÂt a Âspecial birthday  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  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.

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First of all, congratulations on your courage to get on with your life and over this. It realy doesn't matter that it took 19 years because you are in the right place NOW!

Sadly, this type of thing happens far too often but I don't need to tell you've already realised it and know that you are not at fault and you may as well give up on what you either cannot accept or change.

Children have their place in their parents' lives AS CHILDREN and it is never acceptable that they occupy the place of an empotional partner for their parent.

You seem to have made peace and some sense out of it all and that's great. I wonder how your ex-DH is hanling being alone now. I have to wonder if he's finaly realised that his daughter is not going to take the place of his wife?

Well, thanks for sharing your story. It's sad but it does have a happy ending and that's the most we can all really hope for, isn't it?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:16PM
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Thank you Mayday.
I've a way to go yet. I was in a confused fog long after I actually left - my heart was still with DH.
But the more time goes on, the clearer it is all becoming.
I've stopped making excuses for him now. He used my love for him as a reason to do whatever he wanted.
It took a lot of soul searching to find the truth and accept it.
I now spend wonderful times with my family without worrying about him picking fault with them or wanting to go home when I'm enjoying myself.
I go to bed at night whatever time I like - eat what I want - visit friends - control the TV!
Yes - there were more issues than SD - but that was the over-riding daily torture I lived with. Now I couldn't give a monkey's what they do!!!
I honestly feel I've been let out of prison.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:26PM
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I am so glad i have read your post. My situation is not what you have discribed but i see some similarities.
I had a blow out with my husband last week. I understand that men from divorce are stuck between two families...but last week just took the straw for me.
I'm lucky , very lucky in one sense because my sd does nto live with us. She comes EOW. BUT she manipulates and tries to hog alot of time from her father when it suites her. IE she is very jealous of her own brother when he spends time with his dad when they both come over. My dh puts her in her place but this jealousy has been there since i'm met her when she was 5 years old.
She definitely was jealous when i came into her dads life and he again put her in her place. So in none sense , dad doesn't put his daughter all the time on a pedestal BUT he does favor her above both his sons...which i find disgusting. He does share way too much info...i mean, all daily activity with her on the phone when she phones. She use to phone all the time...but thankfully that has stopped because she is older, in her teens and fights with her dad because he now has opened his eyes.
But what happened last week really stabbed me. I have been testing her by telling her about plans ahead of time...and she sabotages them. I only told my dh 2 days ago.
I blew up...God help...i've never been so angry in my life and some of the things i said were so vile towards him and his daugther but i just erupted. i basically said that he should marry his daughter and go......i wont say it further...but you get the gist..... i told him she says jump andhe says how high...that he backstabbed me as a wife and friend. He knew we had plans but the dear daugther phones and he promised to take her to lunch and watch her game and dumps all the plans out the door for the entire family for her! Well i told him off , told him my feelings..and also told him to keep his plans wih his daugther and that i would make other arrangments. i slept separatly for 2 nights
We spoke, mended...and low and behold she phones again..says someting to him that shocked him and he defended me..and told her to stay at home ...
I'm drained....i'm unhappy...not at my husband...but at the events that unfolded. The stupid games...andi todl him last night that i'm starting to hate her, resent her and not care....its building. I wnat to let it go..but i do not trust her and she plays games.....Been taught by her mother , she's influenced by her there is nothing i can do about it....but i do notsee it gettign any better when she is older. I just see more games...i just pray that my husband keeps his eyes open. He does buckle from time to time.
He said he wanted to give a diamond necklace for her sweet 16....keep in mind he doesn't havea penny to his name! He wont give jewellery to me but he wants to do it for his daughter!!!!?????
I'm not jealous. Honestly i'm not. BUt i just do not think its normal for a man to share every detail moment of his life with his daugther....he's also pulled back from doing that now as well.
But how long will this happen?
After reading your story, i just cannot believe you stayed that long and took so much disrespect. I had one incident last week and i made sure he knew exactly how i felt adn i told him he goes down that path, i will be out the lie there!
I encourage him to see his kids and be with them....but not to leave me hanging because of sd manipulations. To make him choose between me and her..or now...her and my son. I hate it. I hate the games. Its disgusting me this week and i'm sooooooo upset about this.
I really have no interest in seeing her next time. I need a break

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:28PM
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You sound desperate. I know those familiar feelings.
But you do seem to have a stronger and more understanding DH than I.
Keep communications open. Be honest with him about what the dyamics of the situation do to you.
It is important that he doesnt feel you are attacking his daughter. Maybe something along the lines of, DH, I would really like to get on with SD. I know I can never be her mum nor would she want that, but I would like to be a friend or at the very least have a mutually respectful relationship with her.
I want her to know Im not trying to take her dad away, rather help bring more happiness into his life.
I need you to help me work towards that. She will try to sabotage our plans etc because she is trying to show me she still has a greater power over you. We need to show her a solid front or she will understandably test your loyalies to the point of breaking us up. I dont want that and I dont believe you do. Im on your side here. Lets work it out together.
Maria if hes not willing to listen, youre flogging a dead horse. If he loves you and is prepared to listen to your feelings, then give him that chance.
Women, even budding little minxies, can be very devious and know exactly what buttons to press. Help him to be aware of whats actually happening. Also, you need to tell him that you feel very uncomfortable with him discussing your personal business with his daughter. That is actually another power play on her part. He needs to be aware of what sges doing. He needs to set limits.
Good Luck


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:03PM
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He's actually a very good hubby. He defends me alot and he does see the games...sometimes he denies and then reality strikes him down. Like last thursday when he realized he was being played. He always puts her in her place.
I have open communication but i told him the more time goes on, the more he has to put her in her place...and not being i'm the new wife etc...he puts her in her place because its wrong what she is doing. She does wrong not only towards me inadvertantly by testing her dad but she does it to her own brother and from what i've been hearing now to her mom. Her grandparents put her in her place several months ago.
Yes its a teenage thing in part but its also a character issue with her. She is an intently jealous person to any one around her . She wants to be the center of attention and both families have tried to teach her to no avail....from a family member we also heard she cause alot of fight between her mother and her new husband. So i'm glad she doesn't live with us. Because i do not want to be in his shoes. He's threatened to leave 3 times now.
For, it just came to a blow and i told my husbnad how i felt. Yes , in an angry way but i wasnt' going to bottle up ...i've been testing her for 7 months now and each tiem its sabatage. He's been thinking really hard over the weekend and we are just both plain sad and emotionally drained.
He's aware adn he is hurt. And there is nothing i can do for him.
he asked me not to show hate to her...i dont hate...i'm keeping my distance and i wont be two faces and act as if i liek her either.
I'm civil with her and that is how it will stay. I will no longer give any effort. ie presents, bday will be on his shoulders.
I'm not asking for appreciation...i am not there mother , i demand nothing of them except respect. Which by the way they are nice to me and they do respect me. THey disrespect through their dad...they attack him. They manipulate him. He knows. He fights back. But last week i was just fed up.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 12:10PM
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Oh my gosh, those are some hard lessons you learned from pushing him into marriage to realizing he was getting off on the attention he was getting from wife and daughter fighting over his time.
Your story has hit home in certain aspects and I thank you for allowing me into your head to see how these things can pan out in the long run. I have an adult SD who is fighting for her fathers total attention and all his free time even asking him to push me to the side. So far he has not done that but I think SD will keep trying so I am glad to be aware of the pitfalls and concerns you have mentioned.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Your post hits home for me in so many ways. If you are interested you can look up some of my posts. I haven't posted recently because things have only gotten worse & to the point where I am leaving. I have come to realize after almost 9 years together I will never ever be even a close second in this mans life, nor will I ever have a say so in how I lve unless I get out and live on my own.

SS & Gson run the show here and whichever live in girl happens to be around at the moment. DH still doesn't get it. Everything is my fault. My trust has been violated I found multiple messages between DH & SS talking very personal stuff about me, calling me names and asking for money, money and more money.

I'm so past done, yet even when I looked for a apt yesterday DH was talking about how this would be difficult for him location wise etc..Doesn't he get it? I'm leaving!!I've told him. Ugh.

Anyway just wanted to say we have lots of the same issues and though I am still fearful & angry I am looking forward to a feeling of relief and hope it comes soon after I move. Hope I remember how to deal on my own,though I pretty much am now anyways,I know it will be an adjustment. Your post gives me hope.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:34PM
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very sad, I am glad you have courage to start on your own...I can never understand such unhealthy attachment. it ruined your marriage and at the end it makes nobody happy. I am glad you are strong enough,...

although i am not married and my situation is different, I can certainly relate. My SO's older DD27 is overly attached to him. She is engaged to get married and yet she spends all of her free time, vacations, holidays wiht dad 24/7. By 24/7 i literally mean 24/7.

We cannot go on vacation anywhere just two of us. She demands that he spends all of his very limited vacation time with her.

I told him how that makes me feel, he acknowledged it and he made a compromise. ha.

Listen to this compromise: now he won't go on vacations just with her but she will join vacations with us. yes we have to take her on every single trip we go. she is 27. i do not want to spend all of our vacation times with her. I do not understand why adult woman wants to be with her father that much.

her wedding is late July, she wants to spend the whole month of July wiht her father 9she has long vacations). intitially she asked him to take her on vacation in July. he did tell her it won't be possible because that's the time when me and him go somewhere (finally he said "NO"!).

She was upset. that's when the compromise happened. now she comes wiht us everywhere. We plan short trip for memorial holiday and I feel she is coming wiht us again. and then 4th of july we plan a week long vacation and yes she comes wiht us for the entire duration.

and yes sometimes i wonder if his reluctance wiht commitment is due to his and his daughter relationship. yes I see them acting as a couple and it upsets me.

I and my X am verty close to our DD but I cannot imagine her wanting all of her free time with either one of us. Just don't see that hapenning.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:14PM
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Finedreams totally hit the nail on theh ead with the term "unhealthy attachment". When a child/adult child enables their parents to have any relationships outside of the one with him/her it is totally unhealthy. It isn't normal either. Your ex is going to die lonely...why any child would want that for their parent is beyond me.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:44PM
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We had been together 9 years when I pushed him into marriage!
The funny thing is, when we had only been seeing eachother for a couple of months, he said, I was going to book a surprise wedding tell you about it that morning! I ask you, WHAT WOMAN would want that!
It seems that once hed got me, he didnt feel the need to do me the honour of marriage.
I would be very careful of the situation between your H and SD. In my experience, it never gets better only worse, unless the H is ready and willing to work with you to address the concerns. Thats not to say they cant still have a close and loving relationship as father and daughter but when it becomes a power struggle, its a nightmare to live with.

I wish you Good Luck and Happiness

I will look for some of your posts, though it seems youve made your decision.
Im beginning to make a connection between this sort of problem and controlling husbands.
I feel that a well-balanced, secure, loving man would always consider his wifes feelings and listen and act if there are genuine grievances. I think the ONLY way any family but especially step-family life can succeed is with wife and husband showing a united, firm and fair front to ALL the children.
A controlling man will not do this because he considers his wife a possession and an inferior person. He wont understand why he has to take her feelings into consideration. Try googling emotional/verbal abuse. This can include a very wide range of behaviours and sometimes it is extremely subtle but nonetheless very damaging long term.
On really examining my marriage, I realised that I had been subject to controlling behaviour and a degree of verbal/emotional abuse. He used to say things like, Youd be lost without me If you ever left, Id know exactly what youre doing/where you are. Ive got people I know everywhere put downs that turned into jokes if I protested Whats the matter with you? Youre too sensitive often shouted me down in front of people, etc etc.
He was never going to listen to my feelings, even though he pretended to, because he felt too entitled to do exactly what he wanted.
Its only been 4 months out for me. I still have a lot of emotional baggage to work through, plus I still do the admin for our business but I can say that Im so much more at peace now and happier than Ive been in years. I feel free of all the daily crap I used to endure, such as feeling my tension rise when his mobile rang and I could tell it was her asking him what he was doing that day so she could make plans with him. Him arranging to have GS for the night without asking me, Oh! I could go on and on!
Anyway, congratulations on making your decision. I know its not easy.
Best of Luck

All I can say is read what I have written. Give your marriage every chance and bear in mind shes his daughter and will always be but if you continually feel your needs and anxieties are being ignored, dont waste your life.

I dont even think she (or him) gives a thought to the future. Its get what you can today with no thought for anything else.
And youre right it is a very unhealthy attachment for ALL concerned.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 5:43PM
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