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Feel bad for DH

Bex_S's picture

I'm starting to feel bad for my DH. He and SD used to be close (in a healthy way, not mini-wife way). Then when I came into the picture she started with the mini-wife crap, which to my husband's credit, he put a stop to. I was always nice to her and didn't try to force a relationship, but I didn't push her away either. I didn't dish out discipline, just stayed open to her so a relationship could develop if that's what she wanted. SD and I eventually got to a place where we got on quite well, but her behaviour and attitude towards me drastically changed shortly after she turned 5. Following months of drama, SD and I came to an understanding that she doesn't have to love me, or even like me. She just has to respect and follow the rules. That worked for a while but her rule breaking, attitude and behaviour, especially over the last 2 years has been horrendous; even DH is fed up with her.

In the last year, she has become extremely sullen on top of everything else, and seems to flit between treating her father and I with contempt, or insincerely laying the loving daughter act on with a trowel (presumably to rub my son and I's noses in it). There's no middle ground at all. She, by her own choice has reduced visitation, and will only come over if she will get gifts/day trips etc, she has nothing better to do at her Mum's, or she gets to see her older half brother who is like a God to her. And when she is here, she is as described above. It's like she's just putting in her time with her father, and doesn't seem to be that bothered to see him at all. When she's here, she isolates herself and spends as little time as possible with us all and barely speaks to us (then bitches that we exclude her). When she does decide she wants attention, she plays the helpless child act to get you to do stuff for her a child her age is easily capable of. She will trash her room, make a mess at the dinner table, pretend not to be able to dress herself or turn the taps on to wash her hands, etc just to piss us off. She goes back to BM's as early as possible. I've even tried going out with my son so she gets 1:1 time with DH, but that didn't work. She now just only seems to value her father by what she can get from him. She resents my son while pretending to love him, and even DH is starting to see through that act.

I could go on for much longer, but I've blurted enough out already. I just don't know what to do. I hate seeing my husband hurting, watching his daughter slowly turn into his ex wife as she grows up. I hate seeing him virtually never seeing her by her own choice, and when it is, it's for monetary gain. We've always seen a lot of BM in SD personality-wise, but until recently it seemed fairly diluted with traits from DH, and we were (up to a point) able to teach her basic household manners. Now there seems to be nothing of her father at all, not even common interests or shared sense of humour that would connect them more than just familial love. More and more, my anger and hatred for SD is changing to sympathy for DH. It's also killing him that he has 2 children who aren't interested in knowing their little brother; his eldest son also shows no interest in our son. The relationship between him and his daughter is slowly dwindling to nothing, and he's done nothing wrong.


tog redux's picture

There is nothing you can except support your DH. SD is likely enmeshed with BM and has no sense of herself as a separate person, which is why she seems just like BM. BM is likely influencing the negativity between SD and DH as well.

My DH feels the same - he watched the young boy he was close with turn into a dsyfunctional carbon copy of BM. BM here sucks all the oxygen out of the room, and SS20 has no sense of who he is at all.  Now he's also starting to have a negative relationship with BM as she is screwing him over just as she does everyone, but it's too late for DH to be close to him - he's ruined. (And SS never had an issue with me, so it's not my presence that caused any of this).

Sorry, it's hard - all your DH can do is move on and be grateful he has your love and support.

Bex_S's picture

Thank you, I'm glad I'm not alone in this experience. I just hope things get better before it's too late.

thinkthrice's picture

to stop the PAS train once started by the BM.  Biodad has two choices:

1.  to go along with the games (most popular) sacrificing SM on the altar of the failed first family; usually alienation occurs anyway as it causes all to lose respect for biodad

2. stand up to the BM, gain the respect of SM and sometimes the skids but risk alienation when BM becomes enraged


Bex_S's picture

Unfortunately we've been on option 2 from the get-go. Sometimes 1 to save drama, but DH doesn't take any shit from BM. No approach seems to work. BM is also upset with SD for distancing herself and her behaviour, as it's mostly the same at BM's house (sullen behaviour etc). BM lost her Dad so she's always wanted SD to have a relationship with her father. It comes across like PAS, but in reality it isn't, unless BM is smarter than we think she is and is playing a very clever long game.

thinkthrice's picture

"BM is smarter than we think she is and is playing a very clever long game"

hereiam's picture

You certainly are not alone, same thing happened with my SD. She would cancel weekend visitation to do stuff with BM and her family, or because her older brother was getting out of jail (really), or whatever. She and DH were also really close at one time (we have been together since SD was 5).

We did find out when SD was about 15, that BM was trashing us and lying about DH worse than what we thought (and SD believed it all), so I'm sure that had a part in it. She stopped coming over for good when she was 16. SD still seems to believes some of the crap BM told her when she was a kid, even though she knows BM is a liar and a manipulator. She put on a front that she wanted SD to have a relationship with DH but she really wanted to drive a wedge between them. SHE wanted to be THE parent.

My SD is 28, now, and her and DH have a very superficial relationship.There are some other things that have contributed to that over the years, but I do believe it all started with BM and her tricks and lies. SD is angry with him, he can tell, even when she denies it.

It's so sad because my DH is such a loving person. He loves his daughter and would love to be a part of her life but she has made that very hard to do. He just doesn't trust her.

I'm sorry that you have to go through this with your DH.

Bex_S's picture

Sorry to hear that. Our SD does that too. She is supposed to come over on a Saturday, and we don't find out until Fridays whether she's coming or not. And she always cancels at the last minute.

tog redux's picture

Wait, if she's a young child, then DH needs to stop allowing her to decide if she comes over or not.