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Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Posted by grrrrrr (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 23, 10 at 8:50

I have been with my husband for 11 years and we both have 2 grown children each.None of them living with us. Although my 2 daughters and his son are very respectful and want to be part of the blended family, my step daughter (23) has always been a problem. She had always had her own way and has grown into a very self centred and disrespectful young lady. She only ever visits/contacts her father when she wants something and if she doesn't get what she wants throws the most horrific tantrums where she abuses her father, me, my daughter, her grandmother and her aunt. She never takes responsibility for her own actions and can effortlessly turn a situation where she has been out of order into an all on attack, bending the facts and pressing all her fathers buttons until he caves and gives her what she wants. Recently she got a very good job with her fathers company graduate scheme (helped by him) and although she could get a ride to work with him insisted she had to have a car. Firstly she wanted a new car (Even we don't have one of those grrr)But discovered she was not able to raise the finance because she did not have a credit history. Against my better judgement and pressured by my husband we then lent her the money to buy a second hand one and also paid for the insurance up front. It was agreed she would repay this over 30 months but before the first payment was even due she had renegotiated the deal and postponed the first payment with her father. Then last week she got into an abusive emailing session with her Dad because he asked her to spend 40 pounds on him for Christmas. She had asked for a Sat Nav for 130 pounds from him and was buying a Sat nav for her mother too but wanted to buy him a book. When he tried to point out that this seemed a bit uneven she turned the whole thing into an argument and abused him, telling him he was a terrible father and was never there for her - she brought all the rest of us into it as well and completely omitted the fact that it was her behaviour which started the whole thing. Instead she kept insisting it was his not wanting her mother to have anything which was the problem. He was still reeling from this abuse when she crashed her car into a fence post. He then tried to help come up with a solution to have it fixed and we ended up arguing about giving her any more money. After all she had still not paid a penny towards the car and had not saved any money for road tax or repairs even though we had discussed her need to budget carefully before she picked the car up. We arranged for her to come to us to discuss a way forward and she was 1 hour 45 mins late. She walks in the door without even a sorry for being late and then tries to get her Dad on his own so she can extract some more cash. I heard him talking to her about living beyond her means and she gave him real attitude back. I am ashamed to say that I then lost it. I had had enough of her attitude and rudeness. So I told her if she couldn't afford the car she shouldn't have one. She told me to butt out and leave her to talk to her father, I said she only wanted to talk to him alone so she could manipulate him (History has proven that to be the case) she got nasty and my husband stepped in to quite us down. I then went to get the paper with our new financial proposal and she burst into tears and started to put her coat on to leave. I took the hint and left the room to leave them to it. She then tore strips off her father for not supporting her and started calling me abusive names. He said to stop it and calm down and she told him he should be ashamed of himself, stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her. My Husband talked to his mother and sister to try and get some perspective on what had happened and they suggested he sit on his hands and not get the car repaired until she had saved the money. Then she got her brother involved (This has been used before and Husband starts to cave)The following day at work she sends him an email demanding an apology from both of us. He sends a polite one back saying that was not going to happen and we need to move on. The next day he arranged to meet up with her to try and talk things through but again she was aggressive and started in demanding an apology. When one was not forthcoming she launched into a tirade of abusive language and threats of physical violence, both to him and to me. He came home shell shocked at how she could speak to him - but still after all that bullying and abuse he is still looking at ways of getting her car fixed for her! I feel he needs to take a stand stop the cycle of abuse and let her become an adult.
She has had more than 9000 pounds pass through her fingers in the last 4 months and still has no savings or even enough cash to pay her bills! If this doesn't end here we could be looking down the barrel of her gun for the rest of our lives. What is going to happen when she gets into credit card debt and has over spent so much she cant pay it back. What if we lose our house trying to keep up with her demands. Any advice on how to move forward on this would be greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Before you write the book and screen play, do learn what a paragraph is.

Between now and then, your husband needs to grow a backbone. From what you've described, this daughter needs to be cut off unless/until they learn how to be behave. What you've described is not to be allowed. There's no "moving forward" with the current dynamic.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Thanks Asolo, and sorry about my lack in paragraphing. This is my first time on here and I am feeling rather stressed at the moment.

I totally agree that this has to come from my husband. In fact if I didn't know better I would suspect he actually lacked any balls! lol
But time and time again we agree on a way forward and he goes in the opposite direction - I just don't know what to do. It is so frustrating. When he is in conflict with her he is moody and withdrawn and I suspect he would rather have a fight with me for going back on any agreement than stand up to her and get another mouth full of abuse. After these events she normally holds him to ransom for 6 months or so by not making or responding to any contact.(Other than his moods this is normally better for me)

He seems to be aware of how dysfunctional and destructive their relationship is but seems paralysed to do anything about it.
He is full of guilt about his marriage breaking up and she has capitalised on that for the last 14 years! (Encouraged by his ex)
Any thoughts about how I can encourage him to make a stand to change the dynamic of their relationship?


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Basically, he is failing to acknowledge priorities, of which #1 should be you. From your description, it appears he's been voluntarily reduced to an enabler.

Step-parents are always the outsiders in these situations. The father/daughter thing is so very difficult for an "outsider" to influence.

IMHO, she should be cut loose. Love and affection for free but no more money. She should not be allowed to endanger your financial security. She'll be estranged for a while but she'll grow up eventually. The only question is whether or not your husband can bear it.

Is it something you can talk about with him rationally?


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Thanks for responding. Sometimes I just feel so alone and undermined in this whole situation.
Yes, we have had many talks about a way forward but he just doesn't seem to be able to help himself when he is confronted by her demands. I end up feeling like I have no input or control over things that effect my life and that is very hard to deal with. It also makes me feel like he doesn't respect me or our relationship when he does these things. We have got better at talking it through but it seems futile with the current status.

Do you have any ideas on how I can empower him to take control of the situation and change the dynamics of his relationship with his daughter? Talking it through just doesn't seem to be working. I have tried the soft approach the hard approach and even his mother and sister have tried to make him see sense. But although he seems to agree at the time he then does a complete turn around and ends up rewarding her for her behaviour. I am desperate!


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

"...threats of physical violence,..."
"...tirade of abusive language...."
"...calling me abusive names."
"...bullying and abuse...."

If he hasn't gotten the message yet, he's not going to.

Do protect yourself. Emotionally....don't accept her attacks on you personally or your husband. Since your husband's a wimp, you're the one that will have to confront and control her....recognizing that you may have to deal with your husband afterwards. Physically....call the cops the next time she threatens any such thing. Financially....get your personal finances set up so that neither she nor your husband can get at your assets.

If you're lucky and you hubby does come to the party, there will likely be a long period of estrangement from the daughter. If he's not willing to accept it and endure it, the little termagant will hold you both hostage indefinitely.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Thanks asolo for your feedback. I have been told so many times that I have no right to get involved and as a result end up as the scapegoat for anything and everything and have not been able to protect myself against it. Everyone backs down and allows her to blame me because I should have no say. I feel like I am being smothered sometimes and am very unhappy about it. It is very refreshing to have someone say I should confront her!

My mother-in-law is going off this afternoon to meet up with sd on their own and I just can't put a name to the way I am feeling about this. On one side I feel she should not condone the daughters behaviour but on the other I know she still has the right to have a relationship with her. I suppose I am also concerned that if mil doesn't agree with sd that she will get abusive to her or that she will try and put all the blame on my husband and myself by distorting the truth. It will be interesting to see how my husband deals with this.

I no longer work due to chronic pain in my neck, so have not really got any income of my own to protect. But I do have a house which is rented and could be effected if she puts too much financial pressure on us. The pain is made much worse by stress and I actually think the amount of stress I have been forced to live with for the last 11 years played a big part in bringing this condition on in the first place - sigh!

Hope you and your family had a nice Christmas and thanks again for taking time out of your day to help me through this.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

"...I should confront her!"

Well, not exactly. What I meant was that 1) you cannot control what other people do. However, 2) you cannot accept any persons attacks on yourself or your husband/marriage. When it occurs, you must stand and confront. If/when you are slandered, you must defend yourself.

It would be well if your husband would at least stand with you whether or not he decides to continue "helping" his daughter. However, you're in charge of you. If you're attacked, you must defend. If you don't, you'll be setting your own pattern that your attacker will notice....and therefore continue the attacks.

As I see it from your posts, your marriage is under attack. I advise taking a firm stand in opposition.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

"Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it"

Sounds like your DH needs tools to help him deal with her. She sounds like she has mental/personality disorders - narcissistic, borderline personality, bipolar.

I'm sure there are tons of books out there if he will read them - 'Stop Walking on Eggshells' and its workbook are one set I can think of. Something that will help him find the right words to set healthy boundaries in ways in which he is comfortable.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

"....set healthy boundaries in ways in which he is comfortable."

Which is -- and will be -- precisely the problem. It is not "comfortable" for anyone to do this. I have no doubt DH can acquire the skill. The question is, can he acquire the will? The father/daughter thing can be soooo strong. IMHO, the OP has described it thus.

Step-parents are always at a disadvantage. I continue to advise self-protection as the scenario unfolds.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Even if you are not currently employed, you do still have assets to protect (i.e. your house and the rental income) and perhaps some funds coming in from disability or other sources.

It would be wise to consult with a solicitor and/or financial advisor about the necessary steps to protect your assets and also to limit your liability should your step-daughter end up in greater financial difficulty.

If your husband assumes responsibility for debts or co-signs for his daughter's loans, you want to be sure whatever you have is insulated from obligation and that you are not legally responsible as his spouse.

Keep a record of all threats. Print out emails and maintain a dated journal of all hostile encounters. If the situation escalates you may need this information.

Marriage counseling is also in order; hopefully you and your husband can arrive at agreement on a strategy for dealing with his daughter's demands. If not, counseling may still be beneficial for yourself so that you have the tools you need.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

Thanks everyone for all your input and words of advice. I know it is a difficult situation and that Step parents often get the worst sort of treatment. Especially when their bio parent is doing the whole guilt parenting thing - sigh!

My home is in my name so should be safe from creditors but as it is the only income I have for my retirement I really don't want to lose the house we live in either.

I am pleased to report that I was able to talk him into telling his son about how his daughter has been treating him. His son was really shocked and has advised him (as we all have said) to stand back from her and not give her any more money. So at the moment things are looking fairly positive.
Fingers crossed he is able to stand his ground.

Thanks again for all your comments and support. Happy New Year, we can only hope that better things are still to come.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

"Step-parents are always at a disadvantage. I continue to advise self-protection as the scenario unfolds."

I'd be funneling money into an account that can't be touched by the stepdaughter or anyone else.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

This young woman sounds scary. She also sounds mentally unbalanced. Try to remember that you had nothing to do with all this to begin with, and it's her father's job to man up and cut her off. Completely. He sounds like he'd rather keep living in the problem than in the solution. In fact, your husband is a MAJOR PART of the problem. It seems to be making you so miserable that you need to start asking yourself that old question, "Am I better off with him or without him?" If it were me? I'd be talking to a lawyer and filing for a legal separation. Do you really want you and your daughter put in harm's way by this lunatic when she shows up in one of her rages? I'd be looking for ways to remove myself from the situation.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

I came across this thread during the most difficult phase of my marriage to date regarding my SD. I will try & make a VERY long story short as possible. I married my DH in 2004.. his relationship was barely existent with his daughter due to a very ugly divorce, a bitter, malicious & vindictive ex wife & obviously a very much brainwashed daughter. My husband & I now have our 2 sons. Over the course of the years I've been threatened physically... abused mentally & emotionally. I've tried sooo hard to be respectful, helpful, caring, & understanding to his daughters feelings.. hoping one day she would see that we wanted her to be a part of our lives, but under "normal" circumstances. When I was pregnant with my younger son his ex wife threatened to have her daughter "beat me up, & kick me in the stomach until I miscarried" at that time the daughter & ex would call us all hours of the night, leave vile messages & say such awful things about my hub. He always supported her financially, yet the mother kept that from the child, his daughter calls him names which I won't even repeat most of. #1 being a piece of sh*t deadbeat. He was in relationships prior to ours & his daughter always made him choose... he always picked her. Several months ago we were informed his daughter began abusing not only us, but drugs... of course we felt horrible. He contacted his ex & she denied it. Come to find out while the ex was denying it the daughter had overdosed & wound up in rehab... his ex lied & lied. He didn't want to fight with his ex... he wanted to be there for his daughter & attend family counseling. But he wasn't able to do that bcs the ex was denying it to be true. In the past his daughter has threatened to kill me, blow up our house, wished her father & my kids dead, & of course me. Once she got out of rehab she contacted him, as nervous as I was about her past behavior I always said I would support him him no matter what. (My older son is from a prior relationship & my husband adopted him) when he met with her after her leaving rehab she told him that if he wasn't gonna leave me then she wanted nothing to do with me or my "other" son (who is 12) bcs we are not her blood.
He told her, I love you, but I want u to be a part of our family... not make trouble for us. She got mad, went home & boom the mother calls here screaming.. his daughter is 23. They always wanted him to shell out more money but wouldn't invite him to bday parties, or anything he should've been attending. His ex bleed him dry of every cent he had.

Now the daughter is trying to get attention by doing some very serious things to me. (On April 1st my 32 yr old brother took a seizure in his sleep & died leaving behind a wife of 28 yrs old & 3 children.. the youngest 9 mos) during the days of our planning & arranging she harrassed us, left messages (which I saved) that it should've been me or her father that died but she feels good enough knowing we're hurting... the things she says are extremely unstable... however at that time it was the least of my concerns. I haven't even been able to mourn. My brother & I were 2 peas in a pod & she knew that & she started such trouble. The day after I burried him I was served with a restraining order! I was stunned... she claimed in her report that on April 8th I threatened to "put a gun in her mouth" I am a grown woman... I would NEVER say such a thing. So now I have to fight this in court bcs I do not trust them.. they lied & got the restraining order, who's to say they won't lie & say violated it. Meanwhile I was at a funeral at the day &time she claims I did this (I know the mother is behind this too) so I did something that I was hoping I wouldn't have to... I filed charges for harassment & terroristic threats. & the threats charge is indictable. I didn't want it to ever go this far. I only wanted her to be a part of our lives & wanted her to feel wanted since I knew she had trust & abandoment issues (although she shouldn't have... he was always there.. he would go get her on his weekends & the ex wouldn't answer the door & have the kid hide in the closet... he used to have to call the cops to get her on his court issued days.)

Her mother is saying she isn't on drugs... only drinking now.. (great!, I thought when u follow an NA or AA program you can't use any substance) But the mother doesn't care, as long as she has control. Now I am stuck paying for a lwyer for this "gun" comment that is something they would say... NOT me! Oh & best yet... police searched my home for firearms, of course they found nothing. This has gone too far... I've been in the hospital from my high blood pressure & anxiety... & he does or says nothing. I've supported him despite the craziness... & I love him very much, but he really needs to step up here. I have emails, texts, voice messages all saved of the threats. But I'm at my end of the rope... any advice on I can tell him I need himwithout fighting. When I take her to court I'm going to ask the judge for some kind of anger mgmt or drug & alcohol counseling. My goal isn't to this kid get in trouble... or I would've done this 4 yrs ago... please help.. I worry about my hub, my sons (who are very scared of her) & crazy as it sounds... I worry about her too.. the drugs could kill her. & erratic behavior & pathological lies are out of control. I can't take any more.


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RE: Abusive, manipulative Step Daughter

I suggest you start a new thread with this issue it would be easier for people to respond to you.

One thing that stands out, when she leaves messages on your phone, don't listen to them. You know they will upset you.

You need to distance yourself from this person, physically and mentally.

In my experience you cannot get any sensible solution to problems involving people who are completely irrational. You have to go into protection mode, protect yourself, you children.

I know someone who moved house, and changed phone numbers to escape an abusive nephew. He realized he could not help this boy any longer, it was taking a toll on his family.

You have done your best, the whole situation is affecting you physically and that is not fair.

I wish you well.


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