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adult stepchildren manipulating

Posted by ann1960 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 24, 08 at 13:50

my husband and i have been married 6 years and his daughter is 24 years old, married, 2 children under the age of 2, and she continually is trying to manipulate my husband and destroy our marriage. She used to call me mom before we got married - all of a sudden attitudes changed and I am the enemy. My husband is non-confrontational, so he does not defend me - she has told numerous lies about me, myfamily, my children, my husband's mother and sisters - but he will not confront her about it. she tells him mean and hurtful things one day then the next week she acts like everything is fine as long as i'm out of the picture. its destroying our marriage - and the past 3 years my husband apologizes for her but will do nothing about it. she keeps him in emotional blackmail mode and threatens not to allow him to see the grandkids. i'm at my wits end. the bad thing is, if he could hide his hurt - that would be one thing -but he gets angry with me, and my 2 children (18 year old and 12 year old) and takes it out on us - while refusing to be honest with his 2 adult children.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

Obviously we're going to want more details about what all has gone down, what circumstances precipitated the most recent run-ins. But based only on what you just wrote, I will make 2 comments:

-Six years ago, approximately when you and your husband married, your SD would have been right around 18. If you look around this forum as well as other sources on stepfamilies, you will see that 18 is an intensely loaded age in stepfamilies, for everyone involved. It's often the time when the issues come to a head, and unfortunately can be the beginning of the end of a decent relationship between SP's and SK's. It's the age of 'legal adulthood', as well as the point at which the question of CS or continued support for college comes up. Often everyone in the stepfamily has a set of expectations for what happens when a stepkid turns 18 (including that stepkid), and often no one is fully prepared for the conflicts that arise then, which are many-fold. Though the parent's official marriage to a step-parent is a big adjustment, even after years of living together, my hunch is that the conflicts started more as a result of the issues raised by SD turning 18 than the marriage necessarily. If you think back on it, you might find this is true.

-I'm an adult stepdaughter, and I have had a difficult relationship with my stepmother. So I have that as a built-in bias that I bring toward any discussion about relations between SP's and SK's. But that said, I think it's completely unfair to threaten to deny access to the grandchildren. The only exception would be in a case where there is credible threat of *physical* harm to the child. I would even go so far as saying that potential *mental or emotional* harm is not really an excuse (except in extreme cases) because the child's parent should be teaching the child how to deflect negative influences from difficult people s/he will inevitably have to face in the world (most people don't even have to venture outside the family to find 'em, and we all have to deal with family). So even if your SD thinks you and/or your husband are difficult, without a legitimate and severe reason to fear actual harm she is being unreasonable to deny access to the grandkids.


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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

"he does not defend me"

"he will not confront her about it"

"he gets angry with me, and my 2 children (18 year old and 12 year old) and takes it out on us"

You do not have a problem with this woman;
you have a problem with your husband.

*He* has a problem with her, & she's angry at him for "abandoning" her...

As long as you & your kids are there to be used as badminton birds, batted back & forth, *they don't have to sit down & hash out their issues*.

You can't do anything about his disfunctional, co-dependent relationship with his daughter (& if you could & did, you'd merely become part of the blackmail/enabling/messed-up system), but you can disengage & you can refuse to allow it to contaminate your life & the lives of your children.

In your boots, I *think* I'd tell him what was going to happen, & then I'd make it happen:

"Hubby, I'm through.
I'm not tolerating any more trash out of your daughter, & I'm not tolerating any more disrespect out of you.

"The very next time she bad-mouths me, I'm calling her on it, & if you don't defend me, your wife & partner, you can go to blazes.

"I'll find someone who'll treat me right, or I'll live in peaceful solitude, but neither my children nor I will be mistreated by both you & your daughter so that you two can deny that you're angry with each other."

"*Under no circumstances* are you *ever* to lash out at my kids.
They're off-limits.

"Take your frustration & anger out on the person who provokes it, or swallow it.

"My kids & I are not emotional punching bags, & I won't stand for the two of you making us into punching bags."

I'm so sorry, & I do wish you the best.



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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

agree with sylvia. this woman is 24 so there is no excuse to behave the way she does. for whatever reason biokids are expected to grow up and behave decently, while stepkids are allowed to stay rude teenagers until they are what? how old? 40?

and it is really husband's fault. he should set a boundary. i would not appreciate DD behaving this way towards her father and SM.

and I would not be surprised if SD behaves this way hoping you will leave and maybe she can get some money out of her dad, or what? inheritance issues again? why are some grown up people are rude and mean to their own family? and greedy? no excuse.


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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

Serenity Now: "But that said, I think it's completely unfair to threaten to deny access to the grandchildren. The only exception would be in a case where there is credible threat of *physical* harm to the child. I would even go so far as saying that potential *mental or emotional* harm is not really an excuse (except in extreme cases) because the child's parent should be teaching the child how to deflect negative influences from difficult people s/he will inevitably have to face in the world (most people don't even have to venture outside the family to find 'em, and we all have to deal with family)."

SylviaTexas: "You do not have a problem with this woman;
you have a problem with your husband."

You ladies said it all. Very well put, and I can't add anything more to this except I'm sorry you're going through a rough time Ann. Stand your ground as kindly as you can.


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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

Ann,

I agree with the others. I'm recently divorced and had two adult stepdaughters. The youngest is wonderful. The oldest, who is married with children, was very difficult.

It wasn't until I got divorced from their Dad that I found out the youngest daughter and biomom that the oldest daughter and her Dad never really got along.

As a stepmother, it does feel personal, particularly when something is said to hurt you or those you love. But it is more about him and her than it is about you.

I do agree this sort of a problem tends to have something to do with abandonment issues and it is something her Dad is going to have to handle with her. I'd stand firm on letting Dad resolve this problem. Do not let him take it out on you and your children.

Best wishes.


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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

I have these same issues with my DH. He says I should kill them with kindness - I would just as soon not even look at them. DH is so scared to say anything to them - this is about the only thing we argue about.


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RE: adult stepchildren manipulating

well, of course he says you should kill them with kindness;
then he doesn't have to do anything.


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