Passive Agressive Stepdaughter. What do I do?

NadineVNovember 21, 2012

Hi Everyone, this is my first post here in this forum. I need advice. I married my husband a year and a half ago and we have a 1 year old. He has 2 daughters from a previous marriage, 19 and 18. When I came to live with my husband, the 18(then 16) year old was living with him. She wasn't happy about me coming there but it wasn't until later when the problems started. I got pregnant really quick after we moved in and we got married. His daughter was still acting civil to me.

However. Shortly after that I was put into a situation where I felt the responsibility to tell her dad about inappropriate behavior between her and a much older man and since then our relationship has degraded.

I, along with other concerned parties told her dad and he cut contact between the two as much as he could possibly manage and restricted her phone use. He did what he felt was right and acted like a father instead of a friend like how he had been acting before.

Basically without going into too much detail, the relationship between his daughter and him and me degraded to the point of her moving out of our house to her mother's with her sister, not before making it as uncomfortable as possible.

Now here is my problem. Every time I see his Daughter, be it she comes over here or we go see them, I feel like I am being talked down to and bullied. 1 example being her asking me if I ever considered donating blood and me saying no. Instead of asking why, (I have a chronic illness) She launched into a guilt trip and told me she looks down on people who don't donate blood. 1 more example. I sat down in "her" seat at their grandma's house. I usually sit in that seat when we visit by ourselves. She said everything but directly asking me to move. I asked her directly if she wanted me to move and she got angry. Last example which has happened several times is her correcting my grammar and word choice when I am not even talking to her sometimes. Even when she isn't right. It feels like she's just doing it to get on my nerves because god forbid anyone correct her. I can type all night giving more specifics, but lets just say, I am starting to strongly dread seeing this person and I don't know how to confront the behavior or if I should, but I do know ignoring it does absolutely nothing except make it worse.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all.

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let me add something to the story. A bit more backround and a recent incident. My husband just retired from 20 years in the Navy. He was away from home a lot and his ex wife was responsible for taking care of the family. According to my husband,(and his mother) his Ex wife put most of the care of their oldest who has ADHD on the younger child when she was old enough. Also, the ex wife refused to work and stretched the budget so thin buying stuff for herself that the family was barely taken care of. My husband said that he was afraid to leave for his daughter's sake and knows now that he should have a lot earlier because of the constant fighting. The 18 year old who is giving me problems is displaying the classic martyr complex with codependent tenancies. She was codependent with her dad before I came into the picture. I came into the picture and didn't try to "fix" him, I just let him be himself. I think she resents that he's happy now and that I was able to so easily make it so.When she was 15-16, she transferred her attentions to a 35 year old man who has severe emotional problems himself. They got emotionally involved and she was completely obsessed with him. Texting him 100 times a day, constantly on his facebook, getting super defensive if anyone said anything about him. One day, we were all at a hotel for a volunteer thing and me and my husband came back to the room locked. The guy answered the door and his daughter was in the bathroom "fixing herself" Now I am no fool and neither is my husband, he reacted as any rational father would with the consequences from the above post and she acted like the both of us ruined her life.

Since then she moved back with her mother who not only allows contact with the man, but even allows him to take her on trips and visit. My husband hates the situation, but she's 18 now and nothing legal can be done.

Now to the most recent incident. My husband's ex wife is remarried and her husband isn't working and doesn't seem like he ever will. The 19 year old daughter gave away to us what they were making a month because she wasn't thinking and it's not enough to support the household of then 6. The next weekend they all decide to go on a trip for a weekend to go to an event that for 2 people would cost over a thousand dollars. they took 6 people. Still not our problem even though it was a horrible decision.
lo and behold the very next weekend, the 18 year old daughter wrecks the van BORROWED from one of their friends (she was physically fine) and there is no insurance coverage. The first person they called is my husband to be all like you're paying for this right?
Neither of us have jobs, me due to parenting my baby and him due to going to college. We get enough to survive on from his pension and we had just moved and paid the security deposit and first month's rent. Not only is it not his responsibility, but we couldn't pay it if we wanted to.
Since then both daughters have had to get jobs and they complain about it every chance they can. They have brushed off attempt from my husband to extend contact and the ex wife is in the forefront in blocking contact. Recently she told my husband that his daughters had heard from multiple sources that he was "talking s**t" about them but she wouldn't say what or from who. My husband is going to talk to them privately and I'm nervous about them trying to manipulate him like old times. However I am not going to be there because it's none of my business and it would just be too damn uncomfortable. I just don't trust either of them especially when their mother is involved.
Sorry about the long rant. I gotta rant to someone though heh.
thank you all for your input

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:28AM
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Nadine, it sounds like you're holding your own in a very difficult situation! I hope you and your husband don't take responsibility for what adult children do. They have to work? That's not a 4 letter word! I'm glad they got jobs.
It can only help them grow up.
I don't know whether you should reply to their rudeness-- can you do it without engaging in an argument? I hate to be around rude people, but when I am, I usually ignore the quips. Does it help? It prevents an all out confrontation, which probably wouldn't help anyone. Hold your ground, avoid them as much as possible. Come back here to vent!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 5:52AM
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Passive agressive behaviors can be crazy-making. Try not to fall into the trap w/her by avoiding your own feelings w/re; to her behavior.

So, when she acts out her fear and anger by giving you some other variation of 'correcting your grammar' - don't You be passive - and you don't need to be aggressive either. Nor do you need to justify yourself either. Just be calm and direct and tell her that you don't need her to correct your grammar and want her to stop. If she insists she's 'just being helpful' stay calm and let her know it will be helpful when you ask for her help but not otherwise. Best antidote to passive aggression is directness - no need to be hostile, just 'this isn't working, I need you to stop."

Incidentally, some of her acting out sounds overtly aggressive - nothing passive about it. Sometimes ignoring her behavior may be the best solution (don't rise to the bait) but often, 'what you're doing/saying to me is painful and I need you to stop' is appropriate. If she doesn't stop, disengage - remove yourself from the scene w/out making a scene.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:48AM
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She is an adult an disrespect is uncalled for. What is your husband doing to address her disrespect for you? I hear all the time on these blogs that leave it to the biological parent. You are in a tough spot! I am in the same spot with a 16 year old son that lives with me an I just choose not to aknowledge his poor behavior. Unfortunately my husband blames me if I bring things that his son does to his attention then I'm the horrible person. I hope your husband stands up to his adult daughter on your behalf. You have enough stress with a new little one, tight budget and new relationship. The kids are old enough to take resposibility for their own mistakes, it will only make them better people. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:22AM
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I love the responses that you received! The women (assuming they are women) seem quite mature. Why did it take ME so long to understand what they are clearly telling you.... I realize now after 2 decades how mistreated I have been and I refuse to engage in game playing any longer (i.e., trying to get along with someone who has NO interest in getting along with me. Tolerating me is not the same as having a mature adult relationship! Being ignored in family functions when I try to engage is hurtful). My sc are all adults now. The bottom line is when you are being harmed, I (I am purposefully switching to "I") need to stop the abuse. I need to be assertive (not aggressive) and aware that the crazy making provokes me and I do not have to respond aggressively. What i do need to do is take care of myself and I agree, you are doing a great job by talking to others now and not later. I am trying to deal with the fact that I was naive and should have gotten support sooner. I too believe the bp play a HUGE role in the dysfunction but am focusing on me now. My advise: do not take on your husbands' issues with his kids. Focus on you!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:16PM
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