AnnIsSad's picture

Need guidance dealing with manipulative Adult stepdaughters

I am new to this forum and thrilled to find this site. I am in the middle of a melt down and I don't know what to do. Both my husband and I are on our second marriage. I have two biological sons (12 & 16) and three step-daughers (25, 22 & 15.) My husband has been divorced from his ex-wife for approximately ten years. We have been married for two years and together for four years.

There is a ten year age difference between my husband and I and there is a 14 year age difference between myself and my oldest step-daughter.

My relationship with my stepdaughters, started off okay, but has since taken a major turn for the worse. There have been at least a dozen incidents where the older two step-daughters have been extremely rude to me. My husband doesn't hold them accountable and says he doesn't want to get into the middle of it. My relationship with my step-daughers continues to get worse. They were VIVIDLY clear from the beginning that I wasn't their step-mother. I was their Dad's wife and they didn't have as step-father, their biological Mom had a husband.

The incidents that continue to take place are very childlike, immature and very hurtful. They vary from stealing photos off of my walls of my home, de-friending me and my sons from Social Networking sites, Telling me off in front of large groups of people in public places, not talking to me when I talk with them, being exceptionally ungrateful when they receive gifts, and just downright rude.

My husband tells me he will do anything to fix the situation. We have started marriage counseling, however things aren't getting any better. I find myself angry about the blatent disrespect that they continue to dish out to me without any accountability. I have tried to be the better person and I don't see anything changing.

I have had countless conversations with my girlfriends about the situation. I have heard everything from they are jealous to they are just spoiled brats. My first conclusion was they were jealous and they weren't seeing their Dad enough. Both of the older step-daughters live out of state. I encouraged my husband to take trips to spend alone time with them thinking that would re-assure his daughters that I am not here to threaten their relationship, but encourage it. Nothing has changed. One of the daughers recently found out she is pregnant and I sent a few gifts via the mail and I didn't even get a thank you. I sent the gifts hoping that we would be some sort of a peace offering and didn't even get as much as a text message or e-mail acknowledging she received the gifts.

I work full time and pay about 80% of the bills. My husband still pays for both his daughter's student loans and a massive amount of child support for the youngest step daughter. My husband doesn't have enough money to pay for his fair share after he spends all his money on his girls.

I don't know if they think I am taking his money? The reality is he doesn't have any. I am really concerned that my marriage can't withstand this turmoil with this rude behavior and no one holding them accountable for their actions. I have drafted letters/e-mails to send to them about my hurt feelings, however after reading posts on this website, I don't think that is the correct way to handle this situation.

I don't enjoy being around my step daughters. I find myself quiet and withdrawn when they come over. I am normally a very positive person that is known for being upbeat and an eternal optimist. I am not a depressed person, however I am very depressed about this situation and I don't think it will ever get better. I look forward to any advice that any of you may be able to offer...


momtomykidsonly's picture

wow I think we must be

wow I think we must be related!! My sd is 18 and we she comes in my house I feel like "let the games begin". I ALWAYS get a miagraine while she is there ALWAYS. This girl thinks she is a model, and thinks we all owe her everything. I pay 100% of the bills at home, and he barely makes a 1/4 of my income. (I know that sounded witchy) I guess part of the resentment is I pay all the bills, but he sends her ALL of his money. Now she had medical bills and if they are not paid he said "I guess we will have to file bankrupcy!" Now wait a minute I have a farm and a home, MY HOME, the one I pay for and the farm I grew up on as a kid!! The girl is 18 and if anyone needs to file bankrupcy it needs to be her because she will most likely not have anything for the next 7 years any way. He is not the one that pays anything for home, so I am really hurt that #1 he would expect me to lose what I work for #2 expect me to lose a farm that has been in my family for forever #3 ruin his credit for a child that does not even care about him. I have tried, I promise, but sd is bent on destroying our marriage, and I am at the point I just want to give up. I am starting to withdrawl and going into bad depression. My children LOVE this man and he is the base of our family...it is not my fault they got a divorce it is her mothers!!So I completely understand!

AnnIsSad's picture

It is puzzling how to make

It is puzzling how to make it better. It keeps me up at night and I cry about it often.

Disengaging myself seems to be the only answer. I hate that my step-daughters' dislike for me is hurting their relationship with their Dad. I don't know what to do. My husband was crying today saying, my girls won't even talk to me. He won't say anything to them about how they have treated me because they won't like him then. I recently was so upset that I told him I wanted a divorce. He cried and said that it wouldn't make things better.

I love him so, however I don't want to be responsible for tearing apart his relationship with his kids. He cried and said that would only make it worse.

Has anyone in this forum done the group family counseling? Does that help?

donna123's picture

Your husband is the problem

Your husband is the problem and if he wants your marriage to survive, he had better understand that fully and very fast and make decisions about how he is going to let his wife be treated by his daughters. "Doesn't want to get in the middle of it?" Ridiculous! It is his passivity that is the cause of their unchecked hostility.

They are pulling some emotional blackmail on him right now and if your husband doesn't see their behaviour in a very clear light they will destroy your marriage. From what you have written these girls are jealous, envious, spiteful and ultra malicious. They don't like you, so don't waste one minute of your time trying to get them to like you. Their not liking you is not an indictment on your character. You are more than likely a great, loving person who is being abused by some vicious undisciplined chicks. Make no mistake those three girls work together behind the scenes to dream up schemes attack you any chance they get. Your husband should absolutely be letting them know their behavior will not be accepted. They don't have to like you, but they sure have to treat you with respect.

Until your DH finds the backbone to discipline his adult children, just back off completely, and let "daddy" deal with his own lovely daughters. No more gifts, no more emails, don't go anywhere they are going to be, give them nothing! Don't let him blackmail you into thinking his relationship with his daughters isn't the same because of you. Their problems are with each other...not with you! You are just being used as the punching bag.

He had better get it that your feelings matter! And, remember, your marriage has to come first. These are not little kids.

Just for the record stepmothers always have a much harder time than stepfathers.

"I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people"...Jack Handey

Most Evil's picture

This is excellent advice -

This is excellent advice - don't let them get to you Ann! Your DH needs to step up, HE is the only one that can fix this, NOT you. HUGS honey
_________________________________________________________
"The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself." -
Will Rogers

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
~ Jim Valvano

illustrator5's picture

Yes I agree totally...to

Yes I agree totally...to many fathers try to be buddies to their kids! I have a 24 year old step daughter that I watched evolve into a self centered all about me show me the money girl! She even lied about being pregnant at Xmas and now has a 2 week year old son! So if you think they are bad on their own...wait till a grand child gets into the equation. Your husband will be totally deaf, dumb and blind to her acts!

I saw RUN!! Anyone getting into a relationship with small kids or adults are in for the horror of their lives! Especially if their spouse is so riddled with guilt he makes them becoming whinning, unaccountable adults!

Angel72's picture

They're right, your dh is

They're right, your dh is the issue. He said , doesnt' want to get in the middle of it. BS! He needs to get in the middle of it and say" ok, she's not your stepmom but she's MY WIFE. Dotn come near me again or mouth off to her in any way or you'll be cut off from my life all together'
My dh has this attitude now with his daughter. He's been telling her off in cycles now for the last year. Basically telling her if she can't respect him to basically not come near him at all and he doesn't even want to hear from her.
Is it cruel. Yah, its sad, but remember they as individuals are acting this way, they as individuals CHOOSE to behave like pigs. My dh know better than to touch anything in my house, or remove any pics....cause her father would rip her!
i woudl advise you:
1. Do not make any contact anymore.
2. Do not send any gifts. NOTHING
3. At social events, do not talk to them
4. If they insult you in front of groups, turn about and tell them to leave you alone and in public tell them i'm tired of your abuse to me. You have serious psychological issues.
5. speak with your husband, the 2 older stepdaughter are nto allowed in your house. He gets to meet them outside from now one.
Your husband needs to grow a pair and stop spending any money on his girls. only the one who lives with you.
How is the 15 year old with you????

StepAside's picture

I agree totally with Donna

I agree totally with Donna and goforit.

If your SD's got caught disrespecting a teacher in school and your DH got a call about it, would his response be, "I don't want to get in the middle of it"? Sorry pal, parenting is actually a verb. My DH used to say the same thing. Then he was the poor guy always stuck in the middle, poor thing. I insisted he go to counseling and the counselor told him he HAS to get in the middle. Forcing me to deal directly with his family's disrespect makes me resent him and lose respect for him. Amen!

We married men who have children, under the pretext that they would treat us as their wives always. I doubt any of us would have entered into an arrangement with men who would allow us to be treated so horribly.

That being said, what keeps you from speaking up when they act as they do? I've long questioned my self-imposed gag order as well. I've dealt with this crap for 17 years. I stopped taking it a few years ago. I had to finally reach the point where I didn't care what DH would say or do if I addressed his darlings, but I was through being their doormat. I let him know and told him to tell his darlings, that the next time I was shown disrespect, me and she would be toe to toe. I have addressed his kids directly a few times now and their blatant attitudes are grinding to a stop.

There are several ways you could call them out. I think the smartest way is to ask questions, on the spot, right in front of everyone. If your SD's are like mine, they like to use drive-bys. Subtle eye rolling, deep sighs, stomping, slamming things, or other passive aggressive crap. I recommend that you said loudly, "SD, do you have something in your eye?", "SD, why are you stomping?", "SD, what is all the deep sighing about?", "SD, did you just call me something?".

Because when they do a drive-by, it leaves you infuriated and hurt. It happens to fast that your DH can claim he didn't even see it happen. And the SD's get to laugh all the way to the bank. However, if you put the spotlight on them right then, they get to answer your questions. And I contend, that they'll either back the hell off and lie about what they just did (eat crow brats!!) or ramp it up by challenging you. And if you're lucky, they'll challenge you and blast your damned socks off. Then your DH can no longer pretend not to notice. He'll be forced to get in the middle. And if he doesn't, you'll be plenty armed to tell him his darling just isn't civilized enough to come into your home.

The other option would be to challenge her directly. If your DH tries to butt in, "Honey, you said you don't want in the middle of this, shut up and sit down."

Either way, it's up to you. But when you sit there silently, patiently waiting for your DH to do something, you are making yourself a victim. If you tolerate disrespect, you'll get it. My SM was verbally abusive. Not making any excuses for her behavior, but never in a million years would I have ever tried any of the stunts my SD's have. I know I would have received hell.

As for winning your SD's over. I've tried that. Several folks here have also. I don't know what prompts us to do that. It's somehow instinctual I think, because there really isn't much logic to rewarding someone who treats us like hell. What has helped me is to talk with others and realize that our situations are very common. The feelings are very common. So if you stop taking their behavior personally and realize their are only playing a very common role, than you can figure out how you should be handling your role.

So, if the masses have tried buying stuff for their SD's before and it never made a hill of beans difference (count me in), than you can trust it won't for you either. Don't take it personal. Your DH has fallen into the trap of permissive parenting. He's allowing you to take the consequences of his tolerant nature. Don't do it. And as for him changing, these dads don't seem to get it.

They don't seem motivated to change based on how his children treat them or their wives. However, I do think that once these men realize that they have created monsters who lack skills necessary to have peaceful, attractive personalities and who will constantly struggle in life because they have unrealistic expectations of others and very little to offer, they can start to change. They are setting their precious children up for misery. Seriously. My MSD (25) just got through arguing with me her right to receive gifts and have noone expect anything from her. I could not believe it. She's 25!! She actually believes nobody in her family expects anything from her (not even a card, for any event, ever!), but when she calls for cash, she expects it! The truth is, nobody does expect anything from her, because they are so used to her caring only about herself. Doesn't mean everyone isn't sorely disappointed in her self-centered nature, they are all just too permissive to ever say anything!

Start by telling yourself you do not deserve to be treated disrespectfully. You did not sign up for that when you got married. Stop trying to win his kids over. That will get you nowhere. In fact, it'll make them laugh at your attempts and confirm that they can keep doing it and you'll keep taking it. Tell your DH that it's his choice whether or not to get involved, but you will protect yourself. So, the next time one of them treats you with disrespect, you plan to put her in her place. If he doesn't want his darling crushed, he'd better step up.

Stop being so nice. Being a doormat does not mean you are taking the high road.

And about your finances, if you don't like it, you can always have a sit down with him and split your income and expenses. Create a budget. How much these men spend on their grown children is so ridiculous!!! It will never end. How exactly attractive are grown women who still count on their daddies for support?????

Seriously, my MSD just got through arguing how rough her life is to me. She works two jobs. She doesn't know that I know she lives in the most expensive, luxury apartment complex in her town, that her grandma pays her cell phone and that we spent $1k on a new engine for her car last year.

A bookstore clerk and p/t kiosk employee lives in the most expensive luxury apartment complex in town? And she's crying the blues about money? She SHOULD be living within her means, like I did when I was her age. Nope, she expects the best. And why not??? All she has to do is lean on daddy and grandma to make it happen. To date, she has never once been kind to me in the 17 years I have known her. But at least she is aware that her passive aggressive barbs will be sheared off at the source if she hands them to me. I am over taking it for the team.

Demand respect. Make the consequence of your DH's tolerance and their behavior theirs, not yours.

And the weirdest thing is happening. When I've addressed DH's family, he has said, "Good for you!". I think he wanted to protect me, but was afraid of their backlash. So when I do it, he doesn't mind and thinks they deserve it.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

StepAside's picture

And one more thing. I am

And one more thing. I am also not a "stepmother". I am their "father's wife". Don't take that too personal. It's their way of letting you know that you don't qualify for the title. It works both ways. I refer to my SD's here as SD's, but when telling anyone of their connection, I always say "DH's daughters from a previous marriage".

17 years of dealing with their rejection and I'm no longer phased. I don't want to be their stepmother. If I had my way, we wouldn't be connected at all. Seriously, who wants to be tied to people who treat you like hell?

Anyway, don't feel bad that they insist you are their father's wife only. It's their narcissistic way of making themselves feel super special and to make you feel insignificant.

Works both ways. My DH has been so humiliated with his grown daughter's behavior. They think they are his princesses, his #1, his priority. Little do they know he hates their games and every time they show me disrespect, it serves only to remind him that they care more about hating me than they do loving him.

Try that one on your DH. My DH has only asked one thing of his darlings ever, to try to get along with me. Nope, they refuse!! See how much they love him??? Not much. See how much your DH wants to keep shelling out to him when he realizes how little his darlings will give in return. They don't even give him respect. Makes him a doormat as well.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Sarah101's picture

StepAside nailed it, as

StepAside nailed it, as usual. Those of us in the unfortunate situation of having to deal with with aggressive adult SDs have had such similar experiences of survival--it's really uncanny.

First, YOU are not the problem. Like us, you are probably a good person who expects that kindness is rewarded with kindness. I bet the hostility you receive from your acts of kindness (gifts, etc.) is confusing, right? You may think that continuing to be kind to your SDs will turn them around. Wrong.

Oh, I suppose miracles can always happen, but the reality is that they look upon your kindness as weakness and stupidity. They mock you. So, like StepAside and others have said above, STOP the gifts, cards, etc. It's a waste of time to continue spending your goodwill and energy on people who despise you for no good reason.

I often think to myself--what would I do if these angry SD creatures were not related to my DH? I would RUN from these kind of people--that's what I would do! No person should ever be allowed to treat you with disrespect, steal from your home, and make you feel like crap. I'm sorry if they are related to your DH, but life is too short to deal with such negativity.

Surround yourself with the people who love and cherish you, and ditch the people who suck and try to make your life miserable. You can't make this situation better without DHs help, and it sounds like he won't (or can't) take responsibility. So free yourself.

HIS brats, HIS problem. YOUR life, YOUR happiness!

StepAside's picture

Great question Sarah, about

Great question Sarah, about how much we'd put up with if it were someone else. The resounding answer is, NOT MUCH.

In real life, when challenged by others, I've easily met the call. I don't like confrontations, but when I've been in one, I haven't lost. I can mount a pretty good debate and if treated with disrespect, have had no problem calling it out. Meaning, I can turn into a strong, opinionated, tall, educated bitch who does not take crap from others. The only exception has been DH's family. They are the only ones who have never seen this side of me, so far.

Why? Why did I make them the exception? Why have I tolerated manipulation, deceit, disrespect, etc. from them? Fear? Fear that DH might side with them? Probably.

But along the way, I lost a ton of self-respect in the process.

DH's kids have decried that I'm such a bitch!! To date, they have never seen me in action. I am really going to try to respond with civility to every challenge they mount. But if they ever blatantly disrespect me again, the gloves are off.

The resentment from feeling forced to stay silent while they walk all over me, my marriage, my family and my life far outweighs the fallout from dealing with them directly.

What's the worst that can happen? They treat me with disrespect, I call them out, and they cry to their father? What's he going to say to them? The same thing he has been saying to me for year!! "I don't want to be in the middle." Their turn to hear it.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

AnnIsSad's picture

WOW! Big hugs, lots of

WOW! Smiling Big hugs, lots of love to all of you. Last night when I found this site, joined and posted I never dreamed that I would find the love and comaradarie that I have found here. THANK you all so much for "listening" and "hearing" my concerns.

It is so comforting to know that if I am crazy, I am not alone. haha.. (big laugh)

I really have been going nuts. It is so comforting to know that there are so many others going through what I am going through and their marriages have survived. My DH keeps telling me, they are not bad kids. I told him that I see that they treat other people differently than they treat me.

Based on the incredible advice that I have received from Mustang1,Humbersidegal, Donna123, Most Evil,Angel 72, goforit, Stepaside, & Sarah101 I will make some major changes and stop being the victim.

I am so excited about this forum and the support that it provides. I look forward to sharing stories and eventually getting to a place in my life where I may help others with their SD crisis'.

Again-lots of love and thanks to each of you for taking the time to post back and share your thoughts, advice and love...Ann is still sad...but feeling hopeful! Smiling

StepAside's picture

And one more thing.. Beware

And one more thing..

Beware of their attempt to equalize you. My SD's ask my DH why he doesn't stand up to me and have called him ball-less and spineless. DH has had conversations with me and it has sounded like in his mind, my issues and SD's issues were equal and canceled each other out. For instance, "I spoke with the girls about the last visit and they said that they weren't to blame, that you were and I need to tell you how it's going to be...".

Here's where you need to make sure the difference lies.

Decisions that get made in our family are joint (or supposed to be). DH has no more right to unilaterally start shelling out cash to his mother or grown daughters than I have to go on a shopping spree in New York without him knowing. That is not how couples operate and I dare any of my SD's to think for one moment that they'll expect any less when they are married themselves. I pity the poor person who thinks they are somehow entitled to interfere in her marriage or to manipulate her husband behind her back for cash. That won't fly.

And if my SD's, or any other SD's were to read this blog, they'd likely conclude that they'll be eager to challenge us if we get out of line, as I am proposing we all do. The difference is, as SM's, we have a history of trying to gain their approval, not show them disrespect. The opposite is true for my SD's. So they can feel free to challenge me any time they think that I have treated them with disrespect, because it NEVER happens. I am always kind, smiling and sociable. Their behavior is what has been at the core of the problem. So yeah, continuing to act like beasts will be a ticket to a confrontation with me. And they will lose.

Whereas, as much as they don't like it, they can not demand that my husband unilaterally take our children anywhere, make financial decisions despite my input or make any other demands that challenge the vows he took when he married me. That's called feelings of entitlement. Those do not back up the right to call someone out.

We're not equal. Demands to be shown civility and respect are not equal to their demands for our exclusion.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

ybarra357's picture

I am in a very similar

I am in a very similar situation. One of my DH's favorite sayings when it comes to issues between me and SD is "I'm the pickle in the middle". My response? No you're the jellyfish on the sidelines. No BACKBONE

Sarah101's picture

Hey, I can understand the

Hey, I can understand the fear that might perpetuate being victimized by DHs adult daughters. For years I played the "kill them with kindness" game with the adult SDs and went out of my way because I knew that DH so desperately wanted us all to get along. When I finally had enough of their abuse (and started writing my thoughts on this board), I disengaged from the whole situation.

I am an intelligent, educated woman with fine friends, a loving, NORMAL teenage BD, and a great reputation. Why, oh WHY had I waited so long to declare Game Over with these awful women?

Bottom line: I was afraid that DH would immediately side with his SDs and dump me. I was afraid of Divorce #2. When I disengaged from the SDs, I became a "bitch." The response was immediate and shrill. (See Dad? Sarah HATES US! We told you she was strange. SHE doesn't want our family to be together. SHE is pulling you away from us! SHE is breaking up our family!).

To stay strong, I had to lose the fear that DH would dump me. Perhaps because I took the crap for so long, at the point of disengagement I really didn't care anymore. I figured that any man who perpetuated a situation where his wife was disrespected and abused was not the man for me.

It took months, but DH has now come to terms with my decision to be free. He is free too--I encourage him to visit his precious daughters as much as he wants. DH can spend all his money on them too--after he pays half the household expenses, that is. We now have seperate accounts. When I see the SDs at family functions, I always smile and say hello--and they turn around and ignore me. DHs relatives have commented on this behavior, but I politely change the subject.

Hmmmm..the tables sure have turned!

StepAside's picture

You make some really great

You make some really great points. I feel as though I wrote what you wrote, verbatim. And you're right, I was afraid of the same thing. And part of me couldn't stand the thought of my SD's gloating if they were able to be the cause of our divorce. Imagine how retarded it was to be focusing on their "win" if I did go through a divorce. But for many years, particularly before they were grown, I'm pretty sure DH would have taken their side if I challenged them. Perhaps I should have left if that was the case, but I'm pretty sure that was the case. It wasn't until we had been married a long time, our kid's future would be at stake if we divorced and his other kids became adults. I mean, they've cause my DH enough grief that there's virtually no chance that he'd side with them and risk me and our kids. The scales really did have to tip in my favor before I pulled something as challenging as removing myself and our kids from their presence.

And the same goes for my MIL as well. When she was confident she could manipulate, guilt and order my DH whenever she wanted, it was because she felt she had more power than I did. And she was probably right. Not as much as his kids, but plenty enough.

None of them ever stopped to think about what might be best for DH, for the entire family, or what their future with me might hold. MIL never considered that I'd hate her so much I could care less if our kids ever spend a minute with her spiteful self. And now she's the poor victim/martyr. I no longer care what she thinks about me at all. She screwed with me every chance when she had the opportunity.

And my SD's never imagined that their father would stop looking the other way when they lashed out to me, or that their treatment of me might have some consequences.

I'm not the one who made DH choose. Their behavior lasted long enough to require my self-protection. And oddly enough, DH's 70-yr-old mother announced to him last year, "She won!!". Ha, really? Sad that she forced herself into my marriage so much that she made it a contest. Her mistake.

I know what you say about freedom too. Feels good. And oddly enough, my DH seems less inclined to put up with their BS either. He hates what it has done to this family and he finally has stopped spreading the blame around. They wanted this war, and he's not happy about it. It's gone on long enough. OSD told me once if I didn't want to be a part of their family, to stay out of it. Indeed, that's exactly how she viewed me and our kids, as outsiders to HER family.

I see things differently. I have no desire at all to be a part of their family. If they'd like to join OUR family, they'll need to be nice. And DH is a part of OUR family on a day to day basis. They can like it or leave it. But I let go of joining THEIR family long ago.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

AnnIsSad's picture

Sarah, Thank you for posting

Sarah,

Thank you for posting your experience. I did indeed come to terms with if DH is not okay with me disengaging with his girls, and wanted a divorce, that is something I was going to have to accept.

Wish me luck. I have had the conversation with DH about how I am going to handle the SD and my expectations on the finances. He is very upset right now and I am praying for positive change.

I keep asking myself, why is it out of the hundreds of people that I have relationships with, why is it just his girls that have these issues with me? I have over analyzed the situation countless times and I keep coming back to it is them and I can't change them.

I am sure happy about meeting my new internet friends. I can't tell you how much you guys have helped me. I will keep you posted.

StepAside's picture

Ann, It used to bother me SO

Ann,

It used to bother me SO MUCH that my DH's mother and daughters had such a negative opinion of me. Like you, I have many successful relationships in my life. But for some reason, their negative view of me really hurt me. I kept trying to change it. And I kept thinking that there had to be some modicum of truth in their opinions, or they wouldn't have those opinions. So I second guessed the hell out of myself.

My mom kept telling me not to think twice about what they think. What they think doesn't matter. It's what my loved ones think that's accurate. And I'm telling you the same thing.

Your stepdaughters would have issues with whomever your DH was with. That's because of how they have been raised to think their behavior is acceptable. If I raised fighting pit bulls, and had some running in the house when you came to visit, you'd get bit. Wouldn't matter if you were old, young, fat, skinny, blonde or brunnette. You would get bit, period. That's exactly what these men do when they raise children to feel entitled.

I hope your DH doesn't stay upset too long. And if he does, try to see through the smoke and mirrors. Because as is often the case with stepmothers, he apparently hasn't been too phased by your requests that he demand respect from his kids. So don't get all shook because he's upset. He doesn't like what you're saying any more than a meth head likes being told they are going to an intervention. That's okay. Let him be mad. He'll get over it.

He's the one with the pit bulls, not you.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

KittyKat's picture

And, the bottom line, so

And, the bottom line, so I've learned....

is that H isn't going ANYWHERE regarding a divorce. Despite all the "We have to talk..." circumstances regarding the "girls" where I'd be shaking in my shoes wondering what I did "wrong" this time, "daddy" is still HERE and his "girls" have totally backed off.

Take YOUR POWER back; it's like the monster in the closet. At some point you have to tell it it doesn't scare you anymore. In my case, H had 2 choices: a. continue to fight with me over his girlies, which I refuse to do anymore, or b. divorce me and go live happily ever after with his girlies.

So far, so good, but C. works best. You do "your thing" with them, I'll do "my thing" when they're here. It's allowed me to strengthen my OWN friendships/family relationships instead of giving all of my "power" to pleasing them. As we've all stated, we could have wings and a halo, and they would still bitch and moan. Not my problem!!

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."-Eleanor Roosevelt

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sarah101's picture

Ann-StepAside is so right

Ann-StepAside is so right on. This situation would be happening with ANYONE who married your DH. The issue is not you, it's your family position as your DHs wife. He could have married a toad, and his adult daughters would have played the same hate games with the toad.

It took me a while to realize that my DHs daughters would have hated anyone he married, and in this unfortunate case, it was me they hated on. Because DHs first marriage to Mrs. Bipolar was so screwed up, the one thing his daughters learned to do well was to hate because there wasn't a lot of love in their lives. Now they are professional haters and they blame the world (or me, or anyone, or the next person they meet, or even you!) for their bad relationships.

And your DH will get over it. You are not asking him to change his relationships with his daughters--in fact, he can become even closer to them without you! They can have more exclusive Daddy Time and Daddy Attention without you. What daughter wouldn't want that?

I was surprised that my DH was most upset by the prospect of being alone with his adult daughters--without me at his side. I thought I was giving him a gift by backing off, but I guess he thought he needed me to deflect their rage. When I was no longer in the picture their rage was aimed right at him, and he learned very quickly what they were all about.

Shannon61's picture

I had to jump in on this

I had to jump in on this one. Everyone has made some excellent points here, but this one by StepAside really hit home - "However, I do think that once these men realize that they have created monsters who lack skills necessary to have peaceful, attractive personalities and who will constantly struggle in life because they have unrealistic expectations of others and very little to offer, they can start to change. They are setting their precious children up for misery."

My SD is 26 and lives with me and her dad. We've been married almost 2 years. In the past, her dad has spoken to her on more than one occasion about her rude behavior to me, her laziness regarding chores, and disrepect for him as well. At this point, I really don't give a rats ass about her, how she feels about me, etc. It's all about how I feel.

Recently my mother echoed StepAside's words "he's created a monster." Her dad has created a coddled woman child with entitltlment issues, who has no personality (had problems with bosses on her last job and even though she's highly educated, the phone isn't ringing), spends most of her time with in a sullen state, and is also bulimic (I've addressed this issue with her and dad, but no one is taking it seriously).

The bottom line is that she's aleady miserable! And I'll be damned if I allow her to make me miserable too!

AnnIsSad's picture

Sarah-I encouraged my DH to

Sarah-I encouraged my DH to spend alone time with them this past year. Recommending that he travel to their residences out of state to spend one on one time with them. I thought this would assure the SD's I am not trying to steal all their Daddy's time. That didn't seem to make a difference either. They are not rude to my DH at all.

StepAside-I find it wierd that the common theme within this group is that we have loving and caring husbands with out of control kids. It amazes me that the chidren of such good people can turn out so differently. My DH divorced my SD BM well over 10 years ago. Since they were ages 15 and 12 he only had every other weekend visitation. I guess not having the day to day influence makes a huge difference. You are right...my DH has told me time and time again how mean and cold their BM is. I guess they have the bit bull factor of influence.

My DH has also told me in the past that since he rarely gets to see them as it is, he doesn't want to push them away anymore. Is that what you guys have experienced?

The good news is that after talking to my DH, he has told me he is going to give the girls a piece of his mind. He promised to tell them that they either respect me or he is done with them.

Thanks to all your support here, I feel like a MAJOR load has been lifted off of my shoulders. I am excited to see what happens next.

ybarra357's picture

StepAside - wow, you really

StepAside - wow, you really give some great suggestions.

I especially like your paragraphs:

"DH's kids have decried that I'm such a bitch!! To date, they have never seen me in action. I am really going to try to respond with civility to every challenge they mount. But if they ever blatantly disrespect me again, the gloves are off.

The resentment from feeling forced to stay silent while they walk all over me, my marriage, my family and my life far outweighs the fallout from dealing with them directly."

I stopped being a doormat (after keeping my mouth shut as she said/did whatever she wanted to me), last summer after three years. Finally the 'gloves came off' and I REALLY let her have it. Funny how meek she became when there was an actual confrontation. If she wants a fight - I'll oblige her and it aint gonna be purdy.

StepAside's picture

My brother likes to compare

My brother likes to compare raising kids to lionesses and their offspring. When the cub acts up, the mother gives it a little bite or a swat. And it doesn't matter if the cub is hers or not. Some other lion's cub could come over and bite her ankles and he'd get the same treatment (if not worse).

However, if you're a stepmother, prepared to be chained and muzzled. What a mistake. The cubs get more and more crazy screwing with the lioness who now doesn't care that she's dealing with a cub. All she knows is that she wants to eat that furball. When the muzzle and chains come off, that's what happens. Run kitties!!

Hence, it ain't gonna be purdy, just like you said.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

AnnIsSad's picture

I love the lioness/cub

I love the lioness/cub analogy. My DH has been away on business since we had our "talk." He comes home tonight. I am anxious to see what he has to say about his discussions with SS25 and SS22.

I also like the jellyfish on the sidelines analogy...hilarious and SO true. I can't help but think that if the jellyfish would have at least stung his girls when they were initally so rude it wouldn't have escalated to this level.

You ladies rock and have helped me more than you can ever imagine. THANK YOU!

illustrator5's picture

So what do you do when you

So what do you do when you think they may finally get our of your life and the SD has a magical baby out of the blue? I foresee the repeat of the last 20 years and really don't know if I can go through the same shit again!

illustrator5's picture

What if they stay overnight?

What if they stay overnight?

I have a couple of dogs that are fine with kids but one that is elderly and its like my husband says the dog has to get use to the baby. I told him NO the dog is old and you need to go over there if you're going to babysit!