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Untenable ?

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Untenable ?

I am a father of 4 girls. 1 from my first very short marriage who is now 17 and 3 from my current marriage.
My wife and I have been together 12 years (so since my eldest daughter was 5).
In the early days my wife was incredible with my daughter. I have sole custody of my eldest as her maternal mother moved interstate when she was 12.
My daughter has adhd and admittedly has done some stupid things overtime.
The relationship between my wife and eldest daughter has become so toxic that they don’t speak to each other unless absolutely necessary.
My wife harbours this incredible hatred towards her and is often unreasonable as she is blinded by this hatred.
I sent my daughter to boarding school a year and a half ago and the relationship has not improved.
This is a constant source of stress.
All the kids get along well and she is a great mother to our children.
My wife is threatened by my eldest and more recently gave me an ultimatum that if my eldest came back to the house she would leave with my other kids.
I am trying to navigate the relationships, the impact to the marriage has been significant and there has been arguments consistently for months.
It’s been highly stressful.
I have an appreciation for my wife’s perspective and know that my daughter can be challenging. I also know that I can’t go on like this and feel such resentment for being asked to choose. I love all my kids.
My biggest issue is my eldest literally has
No one to support her (currently in yr 12) and I feel like I am being asked to kick her to the curb. She is only in the house 1 or 2 nights a week and school holidays and it’s still a massive issue for my wife.
On one hand I am shaken to the core that I was asked to choose and on the other now I am questioning the marriage as I don’t believe someone that loves someone else can ask them to choose and it not have impact.
My wife’s behaviour in this circumstance has also added to the situation and when drinking has been abusive towards my eldest. She is now trying to control everything about the relationship between me and my daughter.
I feel like I have no acceptable path as I don’t want to leave our other 3 kids. In terms of the relationship with my wife - I am
Finding it very hard to reconcile the behaviours and the ultimatum and believe I can’t recover but also don’t want to disrupt my children’s lives.
I feel this situation os so hopeless and is deteriorating.
I would like to get opinions from people that have found / heard about similar circumstance and how it was overcome.
I just don’t see an acceptable outcome either way.

Re: Untenable ?

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Hi @Harry_potter , I am really sorry to hear about the difficult situation you’re facing with your family. It sounds like it has been very challenging to navigate the ongoing conflict and tension between your partner and eldest daughter. Having your partner suggest that you must choose between them and your own child is undoubtedly a hurtful and devastating experience for a parent to go through. As you pointed out, this is especially concerning as your eldest relies on you for support, and there are other children also involved. 

It sounds like supporting your eldest daughter is a priority for you in this situation. How has she been coping with everything going on? I am wondering if you are aware of any support she might be in contact with at all, such as friends or support services? Is there somewhere safe your daughter can stay if she cannot stay at your house? 

Sometimes it can be helpful to have a neutral third party step in to help resolve family conflict. Have you considered seeking the support of a family or relationship counsellor? They might be able to help facilitate productive communication and provide strategies for resolving the conflict you are facing with your partner. Services such as Relationships Australia or Family Relationships Advice Line could be a good place to start, as they work with families to improve family relationships through counselling and other services. 

It is not uncommon for conflicts to arise within blended-family units, and there are a lot of resources out there to support blended families to build strong relationships. The Raising Children’s Network has a range of resources available to you that might be helpful.

It is a really tough position you've been put in, and it sounds like you are trying your best to protect and support all of your children the best you can. Know that you are not alone, we are here for you every step of the way.