11-30-2022 05:13 PM - last edited on 12-05-2022 09:12 AM by Iona_RO
I’ve never had the courage to say any of this, but I need to let it out and I hope I have come to the right place…my stepdaughter and biological daughter are roughly the same age. My husband and I have been together since they were babies, he never lived with her or her mother, it was a one-night stand that turned into a child, so neither of them have ever lived together full-time.
The “kids” are now basically adults, over 18 but both still living at home. My daughter lives with us full-time and has no contact with her bio dad, so no weekend custody or anything like that. No second home. Stepdaughter used to come every other weekend until about 8 years ago when the kids were like 9 or 10.
My daughter is Autistic, and was improperly diagnosed for many years. As a result, she was basically psychologically tortured by us, the “professionals”, the system, everyone. She was not a nice kid to be around because nobody around her knew the right things to do. We were treating her like we had been told - it was behavioural and we had to be unwavering, rigid, and tough. For a child with autism, not a behavioural disorder, you can imagine the trauma that caused.
There was normal sibling fighting between the children, always. Stepdaughter witnessed some meltdowns that were pretty epic, but not many. Stepdaughter has always been overly sensitive and a bit melodramatic and this is enabled by her mother and everyone around her.
Was never really a big deal until she just started refusing to come to our home if my daughter was there. She said it was because my daughter called her names and was bossy…like many children.
So for a few years, we rolled with it. It was a pain in the butt and soooo much driving but we thought it would pass. My kid left with her grandparents, his kid came, we spent every holiday apart so that the kids never had to be together.
Fast-forward to today, and our kids are now basically adults.
Stepdaughter still expects my daughter to leave the house so she can come and stay…we recently moved to another state so she lives about 3 hours away. She knows that my daughter is actually disabled and was wrongly diagnosed and medicated when they were children. She wants to become a SOCIAL WORKER but can’t find it in her heart to try to have a relationship with her disabled sister who hurt her feelings when they were 10 years old.
We recently tried to put our foot down and say no more - either try to spend 5 minutes with my daughter and realize that she is not the same person she was when she was 10 years old, or understand that she’s too old to ship off to Gramma every time you get a weekend off work (at the last minute, alway btw).
She said she understood, and realized that unfortunately her decision would mean less time spent at our actual house, but we will still make an effort to meet for dinner (in her state, a whole day trip for us just for dinner!) at least two or three times a month or other activities, and if my daughter happens to be away and she happens to be free then she can certainly come over. That being said, our door is always open, it is her who refuses to walk through it without stipulations that aren’t reasonable, in my opinion.
Suddenly, baby momma is attacking my husband in insanely long and ridiculous text messages about how he never puts her first and she’s so damaged from always being second to my daughter and I just…I’m done.
I don’t want anything to do with an 18 year old who refuses to recognize how much EVERYONE has bent over backwards for the last 8 YEARS to accommodate her spending time with us without my daughter.
My daughter has had to stay home from family functions, weddings, holidays, etc., so that his daughter could attend. She has done all of these things knowing exactly why she is left out and never once complaining.
I’m sick of kicking my daughter out of her own house. I’m sick of her demanding preferential treatment. I’m sick of her threatening to “cut us out” if we don’t “get rid” of my daughter so she can come and visit. I’m sick of my husband feeling like he’s a bad dad if he doesn’t do whatever she or her mother want. I’m sick of her mother making him feel bad when he has done nothing wrong. I’m just sick of it all. The ONLY person hurting in this situation is my husband, and I try to keep my feelings inside so that he doesn’t feel like I’m adding to it by wanting to tell her that she’s made her decision and she has to live with it. She is welcome here whenever she wants, but I’m not kicking out someone who LIVES HERE anymore to make that happen.
And I’m starting to feel very much NOT welcoming as time passes…the only reason I even care if she ever bothers with us again is because I know how much it hurts my husband. I couldn’t care less, I have wished for some time, selfishly, that she would just make good on her threats and stop talking to us but I know my husband would never forgive himself and be devastated if she actually did that.
I’m tired of baby momma STILL ruling our lives because we pay her (stepdaughter is still in post-secondary, which WE have 100% paid for while still paying support to her mother) and her mother has all the power and we can never speak up about any decision, any feelings, basically anything at all, without my husband getting ripped a new one and spending days feeling depressed because he believes it when she says he’s a bad father.
Am I being ridiculous, or is it time for this “child” to stop getting her way?
Is it ridiculous that one person has to leave so another can come? Is it ridiculous that my husband and I have not spent a Christmas together in 8 YEARS? Or a Thanksgiving, an Easter, anything?? Is it ridiculous that my family makes time for his daughter separately, while his family just goes along with the status quo and acts like I’m stuck-up because I’ve started choosing to stay home if my daughter can’t go?
For some reason it seemed less crazy when they were little kids, we just did it and didn’t really think about the insanity…we thought it would only last maybe a few months.
Her mother is completely unsupportive and fully enables her feelings of being “second best” and “last choice”…even though we have made her a priority over MY OWN child every time since this started.
Am I wrong to just be done? I can’t keep pretending to myself that I’m okay with what she is doing to our family. We keep trying to give her chances to spend time all together and she just says no and if my daughter is there she will never talk to us again.
I can have some sympathy when it’s a young child, but my sympathy well is dry at this age. I cannot bend over backwards to accommodate her demands anymore. And I don’t know how to help my husband see that this is HER choice that she has made, and choices have consequences…he just blames himself for not being a better dad.
Also, we are forbidden by her mother to speak to her about ANY of this. Everything goes through her mom and we are not “allowed” to discuss the situation with my stepdaughter at all, because it makes her “uncomfortable” so if we ever dare to bring it up we will be immediately “cut off”.
If she can toss us that easily, I have no problem with it…I try to tell my husband that it might take a couple years but eventually kids come back. I wasn’t in contact with my own Dad, by my own choice, for ridiculous reasons when I was about her age…it took me a year or two because I hold grudges hard, but eventually I realized it was me who was being unrealistic and unreasonable…
My husband just can’t accept this and says he will do anything to keep her in his life…the problem is, I won’t. Not anymore. But I can’t tell my husband that because I never want him to feel like I am making him choose.
Has anyone ever experienced anything like this?
How do I tell my husband that maybe the best thing is to let her “cut us off” for a bit…eventually she’ll miss the gifts, and the money, and hopefully the relationship…she’s just being petty and wants to “punish” him for not skipping to her tune, so I feel like maybe just once he should let it happen…let her say she’s never talking to us again. Tell him to block her mother so she can’t guilt trip him. And if she writes us off completely and never looks back? Well that doesn’t say much about how much she supposedly loves and misses her dad, now does it?
I’m ok with people not wanting me in their lives. I accept it and move on, but he has never been able to do that…sorry so long I just feel so fed up and angry and worried and manipulated and walked all over. I can’t tell my hubby how I really feel without just putting more pressure on him, he’s already in an incredibly unfair situation, we all are.
I’m tired of keeping a room in my house for her when she now barely uses it because she only ever is free to come up once every couple months, and now I will not be kicking my daughter out so she should be here even less. She also doesn’t live here and is over 18…does she really still need “her own room” in our house??
Am I a monster?
I don’t have any interest in continuing to acquiesce to her or her mother. I don’t really want anything to do with my stepdaughter period because she has caused so much hurt and upset, yet she is always somehow the victim…there’s so much more but this already is probably very confusing and so very long…
Just want to know if I’m just a selfish b***h or if my feelings are even remotely reasonable. I’m just so torn and sad and weighted down with all the tiptoeing and planning, and coordinating and I think it just needs to stop.
11-30-2022 10:37 PM
Hi @Mia84 and Welcome to the ReachOut forums!
Thank you for sharing a little bit about your situation with us. I'm so sorry to hear that you have been experiencing this, it sounds like it has been an incredibly stressful time for you and your family. I can only imagine how hurt and overwhelmed you are feeling right now. Navigating blended families are extremely hard on their own, but adding in the extra pressures that you're having to manage too sounds even more difficult.
I can hear just how much you care about your family and just how hard this has all been for you. Do you mind me asking if you have been able to talk to your husband and shared how all of this is making you feel?
While it is an Australian website, The Raising Children's Network has some great articles on Blended Families and Building strong relationships, and I wonder if maybe they will help give you an idea of what kind of things you could do. Do you think this might help at all?
I am also mindful of the impact this must be having on you, so I am just wondering what supports you have around yourself right now. Is there someone that you might feel comfortable talking to about all of this? How do you take care of yourself after a long and stressful day?
I just want to remind you that you're not alone and we're all here to support you.
Thank you for reaching out to the forums, I hope some of the resources I have shared are helpful
12-01-2022 09:42 AM
12-01-2022 03:03 PM
I've just read through your thread, and I'd like to acknowledge how difficult it must have been to hold all this in for so long. You sound like a wonderful mother and wife who is simply tired from what sounds like a challenging situation to navigate. It's been many years, and everyone has their limit!
I can imagine it was heartbreaking to witness your daughter go through the pain of undiagnosed autism - that is a tough path to walk.
I can understand your reluctance to raise this with your husband, considering the pressure he is under. However, it sounds like you might benefit from an understanding ear to listen to how this impacts you and the family.
We are an Australian-based service, but I've done some research to find local support services for you, and this page outlines many. If you scroll down to the "families and caregivers" section, you might find some services that can support you in navigating this.
I hear how concerned you are for your husband, and I'm curious whether there's an opportunity for him to spend one-on-one time with your stepdaughter while the two of you find ways to cope with things. How do you think that would land with him and your stepdaughter?
Let us know what you think of those resources and suggestions - we look forward to hearing back from you when you're up to it.
12-02-2022 03:52 PM
12-02-2022 07:29 PM
I can understand how this situation would be very stressful and upsetting for you, and that you've tried your best to be accommodating and supportive.
As you mentioned that this has been going on for a long time, have you tried engaging with professional support services in the past?
Just to remind you that you're not alone and support is available to you, further to the above link, here is another service that may be useful for you.
Is there anything nice you can do for yourself as part of some self-care to help with the stress that you've been dealing with?
12-03-2022 06:26 AM
12-03-2022 03:50 PM
I understand that you are in a very difficult situation that is presenting a lot of challenges for the family.
Given that you have mentioned the possibility of your husband potentially benefiting from counselling, is there an option for you to attend individual counselling sessions?
Also, does your daughter has some support in place to help with this situation?
12-22-2022 11:49 AM