Stepdaughter's latest challenge
I got married for the first time at age 50 to a woman ten years younger who moved here from abroad with her then 17 year old daughter. They are Russian. Since I had no children I was delighted to be married and have a stepchild, who I did my best to nurture and support. This all began eight years ago.
Stepdaughter was jealous of me from the beginning since I took her mother's attention away. She attended two years of high school here, and then the university. She barely worked while in school, and had no extracurricular activities and almost no friends. About 90% of her communications at home were with her mother, in her native language. I have always been an afterthought despite my best efforts to be a father to her. She refuses to learn to drive. She took out no student loans: her mother insisted that we support her financially in full. I disagreed because I believe that we were not preparing her for life, but my wife was adament.
She has a male admirer to whom she is not romantically interested. Nevertheless, for the last three years he has operated essentially as her slave, driving her anywhere and leaving when she tells him she is sick of seeing him and then coming right back the next day to cook for her or cater to any whim she has.
Periodically, and for no reason, she would start a fight with her mother - and occasionally with me - and would not speak to her mother for weeks or longer. She did this recently for almost two months. She was possibly angry because at least in one regard my wife put her foot down financially and told her she would not pay for grad school. Stepdaughter wants to go to grad school because she is afraid of the world and of getting a job. (She is now almost 24.) Then, after she gave into one of her mother's friendly overtures she decided to be friendly again and she started coming over to visit, naturally with her slave in tow since he drives her.
Then, for no reason, she decided to fight with me. She sent me a well-worded email indicating that she wanted nothing further to do with me, she would not eat at the same table with me, be in the same room with me, ride in the same car with me. She said she wanted freedom from me. Without telling my wife - who would veto it - I wrote back and told her she is making a mistake, but if she wants to be free from me please tell me when you are going to pay for your own food, clothing, telephone and when you are going to move out of my condo (we bought it for her to live in at college since she couldn't get along with roommates).
My wife was furious that I wrote that to her, but in the end the daughter ignored it, naturally since she knew her mother would not allow me to follow up on it.
Now, when daughter comes to the house she refuses to say hello to me or look at me. Slave-boy follows suit, since he follows whatever she does. (At dinner, if my wife offers him some food, he looks to daughter to see if she will approve before he responds.) Naturally this causes me stress, not to mention having to deal with this extreme lack of respect to me in my own house from a woman I am supporting.
Now, before anyone responds that my daughter has emotional or other problems or is extremely immature we know this. But I must tell you that she is not going to therapy, and her mother would not allow her to go. I listen to a broken record here: "We are Russian, and we don't do therapy." So that ain't gonna happen.
The only thing that could happen is a fight between my wife and I if I insist that no one can treat me like a persona non grata in my own home, which I am loathe to start because in other respects we have a good marriage and I don't know if I could handle the trauma of such a fight and where it could lead. I also have developed some serious physical health issues of my own recently and I am not in a position to live by myself. (Incidently my wife believes my health issues are stress-related, but of course she does not/would not connect it to this debacle.)
My wife's position on daugher's latest action is that I should let it roll off my back since she is obviously emotionally challenged.