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Hormonal Teen strikes again

CLove's picture

SD16.5 Power Sulk. So, we got into it last night.

I was home on a vacation day, and somehow things came up. And she exploded on me. I just sat there listening while she railed on and on.

Things had been quiet and nice relatively.

And then POW.

Her main complaint against me is that I ask her to do her dishes and not let them sit. And that I get upset if she doesnt say hello to me. And get mad if she doesnt clean up after herself which is why she spends 98% of her time in her room. My fault. Im evil SM.

Another main complaint is that she thinks that all she is to me is a good grade producer. I told her "I dont even care if you get Ds and ditch (that didnt go over well...) but its not in your best interest for your future!"

All in the same conversation shes telling me that Im more of a mother to her than her own mother is. 

Cry cry cry. More was said in the same vein.

I just told her "I care about you, and just want the best for you. You are sweet smart and creative and the world is open and ready for you..."

Yep, shes on her period.


JRI's picture

You"re right, she's a hormonal teen.  My counselor used to tell me that if they can act out at home some, then they don't act up outside the home.   It sounds like you handled it all well.   How did it end?

CLove's picture

Sure she was open while yelling and crying - great! At this poiint I dont care to be her verbal/emotional dumpster. To me, shes playing victim. But what exactly is it shes upset about? Cant tell you even now.

How it ended - she walked away and went to her room. Just cut me off. Ok, love and light and double down on disengagement...

CLove's picture

But others have encouraged me to stand firm on my boundaries and provide a positive example. Plus I have zero interest in cleaning up after her, period, and no guarrantee she will wash her she needs to contribute more, instead of less. I feel like if shes going to be upset - "oh well I might as well give her something to be upset about!"

CLove's picture

Because now - shell go to toxic troll and complain...and then husband will get nasty texting and show it to me.

So, knowing this - Im going to not even want to talk about anything period. Going to go about my own business.

She plays victim :"Im just a dish washer and grade to you" yet she doesnt want to go shopping (even when I pay) or lunch...she doesnt see anything shes doing as wrong.

But yelling at me doesnt solve her ussues.

Yesterdays's picture

I would discuss it with your husband and ask him NOT to show you the texts.. Because that's precisely why she's blocked. Sorry you are having to deal with this 

ESMOD's picture

I sense some hurt that she doesn't want to be your buddy anymore.  I know you enjoyed going to festivals and the like with her when she was younger.. but she just doesn't want to hang out with some "lame old lady" any more.. or at least not at her age. (I'm older and lamer than you.. haha.. no offense meant)

CLove's picture

I think I am just pointing out (to myself) that she is crying about "Im just a dish washer to you", and yet shes not at all interested in investing time building a relationship with me, other than doing her dishes. So, yeah, shes just a housemate to me right now. Thats the extent of our relationship. And my expectations of her as a housemate (that I support and feed that doesnt help) is that she cleans up after herself at the very least and is cordial.

Stepdrama2020's picture

You handled this well.

The more you disengage the less she will dump on you. She wants so badly for you to react so the cycle continues where she is the victim.

Such a shame for power sulker cause you aint playing.

As for DH if he somehow turns this around on you just tell him to  go suck on a lemon. 


CLove's picture

This just makes me double down on my disengagement.

ESMOD's picture

You need to cease being the official home enforcer.  Stop it.  It is doing nothing but feeding into the conflict with her.

I go back to that saying "correction without connection" breeds resentment.

Look.. I know that at one time, you feel your relationship was great.. that she had a genuine affinity for you.. and to a certain extent this may be true.. but it is also certainly a possibility that she was just nice to someone doing things for her she liked... getting things for her.. she knew which side of the bread was being buttered. 

But, now.. as you over functioned for her father (and mother) for so long.. she has developed the perspective that you are her "keeper"..enforcer.. and she resents the interference.. as she becomes more "adult" and pulls away from home. (it's not a straight line thing here).

I say this kindly.. but what you think she should do doesn't matter. Your ideas of personal responsibility may well be right.. but it doesn't matter.. your opinion.. your efforts don't matter here.

If her father is not interested in holding her feet to the fire.. making her do the chores.. making her do the schoolwork.. making her be a decent human being.. then you are peeing in the proverbial wind.  If he won't make her do her chores like washing dishes?  you have 3 options.. do them yourself, make him do them.. ignore them and let them pile up while you eat from your personal stash of cutlery.  what you can't do is hound her to do chores.. it bugs her.. it means complaints to mom.. which give you grief.. for what?  no thanks.

I know you see her as the last ditch possibility that someone from his family won't be a complete loser.. and not making her do dishes is not likely to be that big of a deal in that regards.. but you are more invested in her.. than anyone else.. and since you are NOT her parent.. she overly resents it.  and.. she likely resents it even when it is her parents riding her for stuff.. but.. that comes with that territory.

CLove's picture

Yes, it comes down to those 3 options.

I resent doing them all myself. I resent waiting for her to get around to it , maybe, if it fits in her schedule. Husband resents me when I ask him to do them (even his own).

I guess I just have to learn to deal with the resentment. She gets Ds? Heres a new phone $800. She ditches? Ok, have fun at the movies/with your friends!

But I think my best current option is to do them myself, and hope they come around. And disengage further. Just really focus on my own life, as I have. Firm boundary on them being done before morning and firm boundary on leaving crap out in common areas. I really just want to tell her to get her act together because I am not supporting her after 18.


ndc's picture

If your husband resents you when he has to do his own dishes . . . well, the apple didn't fall far from the tree, did it?  These lazy, dramatic skids are a direct result of the lack of parenting they've gotten, both from the Troll and your husband,  who I think you'd admit is a lousy father.

In your shoes, I'd stop nagging, completely disengage, do the damn dishes if it made me happier than seeing a messy kitchen, and pray that the Backstabber moves out as soon as she turns 18. 

AlmostGone834's picture

I agree with this. He doesn't want to do his own dishes? Does he expect you to do them then for everyone? I know you said he also expects you to share your food with her. Is this a cultural thing or something? Honestly I'm getting some bad misogynist vibes about this guy. 

If so, I would make it very clear that in MY culture, women are not the automatic dishwashers, particularly for his spoiled brat. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

My daughter is about the same age as your SD, and she's a bit of a powersulker lately, too. Part of it is the age, as my daughter doesn't want to do things with me lately, either. She won't even speak to her dad, but that's another issue. I know that parent-wise, i'm all she's got right now, so i don't take it personally and i'm trying to help her work through the issues that are causing her to be so angry and sulky all the time. With a stepkid, though, it's harder. SO's son, almost 19, and i used to be a lot closer. He went to court-ordered therapy with his mom, and now he hangs out with her (a little) more, and has pulled away from me and is downright hostile to my daughter. He still has not spent a single night at BMs and SO still pays CS, but the relationship SS18 has with us is worse. It hurts. I feel a little rejected and it makes me want to say "the hell with you" sometimes, but instead i have opted for polite distance and a "door is always open" attitude. I don't live with my SO, either, though, so distance is possible. All this to say, i get the hurt you feel. It's hard to feel "turned on." Biokids will do it, too, but somehow the lack of security in the relationship makes it so much harder with a skid. 

CLove's picture

What Ive come up with is - bio parents get this trade off - sulky pouty kid over here, but love and loyalty over there. You this but then you also get that.

I dont have the tradeoff. I pay for a home she lives in, she eats my food and now Im supposed to wash her dishes too? And deal with all the attitude/victimology crap?

At this point cordial civility was working for me, but now shes busted that one.

Im at the point of either just buying plates "here you go!" or just not doing anything.

ESMOD's picture

You shouldn't be footing the bill for her housing or food.. if your husband is not holding his end of the financial rope up (that includes his daughter's expense).. then that is HIS fault.. not hers.  She doesn't have to be grateful to you for providing something that her parents should be providing.. I mean.. on a mature logic side.. yes.. if no one else is providing and someone does.. be thankful.. but kids expect to be "provided" for.. generally.. and since her father (and mother) have set precious few boundaries and requirements on her.. she feels put uponwhen you try it.

so.. make him pay more of the bills.. and comfort yourself that you are not footing the bill for her.

CLove's picture

And we both agreed that we would split it equally. I have my own room, He has the entire garage. I watch my own tv in one living room, and we have a common space in the other living room.

So, shes got the thrid room. Should I split the mortage into 70/30? That wouldnt go over well at all.

The easy part wil be food because I will be doing a lot of meal planning and special meals that are super plain and restrictive.

And fasting. And no sugar. No more bagels or brad or bacon. I wont be buying rice either.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

That's true, and part of what makes stepparenting so thankless. The lack of the loyalty and love that they (and the whole world it seems) give BM just for having birthed them, even if that's all she did. DH's and society expect you to act like a mother then wonder why you het so bitter at not being seen as one and given the control and respect of one. I've basically decided to only do that which i can do without being resentful no matter the outcome when it comes to "stepping."

Want to hear something funny? My SO always pushed for us to move in together. I had always shielded him from the difficult aspects of dealing with my kids, so he saw it as this great idea. There came a point last year where i couldn't do it for a while. I was in a really bad accident that had me basically disabled for a few months. Around the same time, my ex decided to stop parenting my daughter and dropped her off with me full-time. SO witnessed an episode of less than stellar behavior from my daughter, and was like "Whoa...i don't think i can deal with that in the same home. Maybe we should wait a few years to move in together." I laughed for several minutes straight then said "Sure, ok!" He didn't get that i was laughing because i've put up with sooooo much more from his end and he just expected me to love every minute of it. 

CLove's picture

Because bio goggles.

She cannot cherry pick what I care about.

AgedOut's picture

I meant to tell you this earlier but I was pretending to clean the spare bedroom. meh. 

anyhoo, what would happen in you give 'them' a few days of their dirty dishes sitting there, then stop on the way home and buy some paper plates and plastic forks and leave them sitting on the counter after you clean the mess? would hubby explode at you? what if you did it on one of her 'on weeks' w. you? 

CLove's picture

I wonder if perhaps Im focusing too hard on that and not the REAL issues...

And dont know what the REAL issues are. Is it just hormonal and I just happened to hit it wrong?

Im still thinking about the 3 options.

AgedOut's picture

she didn't want to do the dishes and she knows tears work. that's it. that's her story. there's no hidden meaning. she just knows if she cries or blames you for some vague thing, no one will make her do anything.


you've lived this over and over and over. I would wash my own and any I cook with and leave theirs sitting there. but I'm a bitch so ....

Cover1W's picture

"I would wash my own and any I cook with and leave theirs sitting there. but I'm a bitch so ...."

This is EXACTLY what I do when YSD is at our home. I do nothing to help DH or YSD, he has to do ALL her dishes because I'm not a nag and I know she'll put it out there if you are doing HIS why not MINE? She doesn't lift a finger around the house regarding general cleaning EVER so no, I'm not adding hers to my load.

I'll help my DH when it's just us and he does mine too, not as often, but he does help a heck of a lot more than he used to. But he's the one teaching YSD she doesn't have to do anything to help anyone and that's not something I'll be involved in.

advice.only2's picture

I would ask your DH to stop showing you those messages because they hurt your feelings and the last thing he should want to be doing is hurting your feelings.

Next time tell her “SD you are free to talk to me about how you are feeling but yelling, screaming and verbally assaulting me are off the table, if you start doing that then the conversation will be tabled for a later time.”  If she continues screaming get up and leave, you don’t have to tolerate that.

CLove's picture

I am not even going to bring it up or rehash like I have in the past.

Im going to keep doing my own thing and getting stronger.

advice.only2's picture

Also this is typical of teenagers and young adults.  My BS22 was upset with me the other day because he doesn’t have enough leave to do all the things he wants to right now.  We invited him to go with us on a vacation and it was somehow my fault he was feeling pressed not having enough leave.  I was like dude come if you can, if you can’t welcome to real life we all have to prioritize!

BD16 the other day got upset with me because she is unhappy with dance, so of course that’s my fault right.  I asked her if she had asked any of her teachers if they could sit down and have a discussion about her complaints.  BD16 got mad at me and told me “that’s not how it works” then stormed off.   Reality was she just wanted me to tell her she was right and a victim, rather than you know solve the problem.

Kids are hard, skids are harder.  I never could brush off the slights or outright rudeness of Spawn the way I can with my own kids.  Wine is a huge comfort in these situations, unless you aren’t currently imbibing, then may the saints be with you.   

CLove's picture

So basically I think two things - 

#1. I agree with you. Its a manipulation tactic. And instead of walking away like I should have, I entertained things.

#2. I have to just really not wallow in these things, they arent important. Just need to refocus. Its so much easier when shes not in the house!

So, this is normal, its just Im the most "parenting" and that makes me the target.

thinkthrice's picture

Its typical of grown men!  I make a fancy enchiladas meal for Chef now that I've taken back the kitchen and because I didn't have the wine out and front and center, I got a bunch of dirty looks when he thought I wasn't looking.

thinkthrice's picture

Because he's like Mary Poppins.  Practically perfect in every way.  (Eyeroll)

Livingoutloud's picture

She is a kid. She shouldn't be allowed to explode on adults in this manner. She treats you like equal, and how convenient she goes at it when daddy isn't home. If she's not doing dishes, I'd make her dad do them. Id not talk about grades. Dad could deal with chores and grades 

I understand spending money on skids and them not appreciating it. It's annoying. But you should only spend money on skids when you want to. When you don't feel you want to, stop doing it. I spend quite a bit on SGD because she is with us quite a bit and I like to buy stuff like crafts or clothes but I do because I want to and can afford it. I don't have to. So don't feel obligated. 

mortgage though... if you both equal owners of the house it's kind of hard to make him pay more because he takes more space. Maybe it could work with rent or with roommates. I don't think it works with mortgage and marriage. Like when we buy a couch, my husband should pay twice as much because he is a big guy and takes more space on the couch. Lol it would be kind of crazy. it doesn't sound like marriage because it's so transactional. 

but if you feel you particularly overspend when she's around, like food or other household items then I suggest you stop, create a budget how much you want to spend and DH would need to pay for the rest. Or spend nothing and only buy groceries for yourself or only a week she's not there. Let daddy do the rest. She's not an orphan who needs saving. She has a father 

you can do it. You are already less engaged 


CLove's picture

But yeah, she should not use me as a verbal punching bag. Period. Which is why I decided to double-down on my disengagement.

Im still considering my next recourse. I really think it was more hormonal than anything, and shes coddled and spoiled to boot.

Livingoutloud's picture

Get dad immidiately involved in this. "Honey! SD is crying and yelling, come out of the garage now" . Or tell SD "Please proceed to the garage, dad is there and please go tell him your concerns". Or simply say "omg I am getting a phone call from my mom or my dad just texted something urgent, I got to get on it". Leave the room. I don't know if she's hormonal or not but she could cry to her dad.

I had an exSO in my past step life who allowed one of two exSDs to do and say all kind of shit. That's why he's an ex. Dad needs to step up before he becomes an ex too! 

Yesterdays's picture

Get dad immidiately involved in this. "Honey! SD is crying and yelling, come out of the garage now" .


One hundred percent this!! 

la_dulce_vida's picture

The wisdom I go by is that partners split the housing costs (rent/mortgage) based on the percentage of the household income each earns. Spouse 1 earns 60K and spouse 2 earns 40K. So the housing bills are split 60/40. Other bills that change due to the number of people in the house are split proportionally. If SD lived there full time, I'd say you pay 1/3 of the utilities and groceries and your husband pays 2/3. But she's only there 50/50, right? So maybe you'd pay slightly more.

I hope you get to enjoy a time when it's just you and your husband. I love living with JUST my bf. Our kids live 2.5 hours away and are all adults.

Crossing my fingers for you that the sulker graduates and moves away forever. Biggrin


CajunMom's picture

I don't care if its Livingoutloud said, she's a kid and not allowed explode on adults. Or anyone for that matter. I strongly suggest you get your DH involved the SECOND she or any of those SKs try this crap again. It's his kid...let him handle her. I'd just tell her, "this is something you need to discuss with your dad," call him and leave the room. And tell your DH to keep her toxic texts to himself. You are doing great on disengaging and she sees it. Once she sees she can't get to you, she'll move on to someone else...and hopefully, that's her dad. He deserves this wrath of his kid, not you.

CLove's picture

He laughs and coddles and cajols.

He doesnt give boundaries and he doesnt  give repercussions. He doesnt say no, very often. He rarely calls her out on her crap.

I do that and thats where the resentments crop up.

I think you are right. In the beginning she had "step mom" and now she has "dads wife", and she is noticing the difference.

Harry's picture

It's not your kid, DH told you that,  so DH should be paying for her. Them 66% you 33%. 
If she doesn't clean up after herself, make DH do it or hire a cleaning person and DH pays for that cleaning person. 
If toxic troll  doesn't like it, so what, they can go live with toxic troll .   Didn't they try that once. 
I would not buy anything I will not eat. As suger, ice cream, ect. When it runs out it's out. 

you know she doesn't like you, so why worry about it.  No reason to be kissing her as* ..  some day she is going to need something.  And it's not your problem. She can call toxic troll 

Livingoutloud's picture

I don't think it's reasonable to expect your spouse to pay more mortgage if you are equal owners of the house. SD is a minor. When we buy a house with people who have minor children, it's expected they'd live there. Some full time some part time. And if one feels their spouse ti takes too much space, it needs to be discussed. But mortgage creates equity. Perhaps if one doesn't want to pay equal mortgage it's better to rent. Or not be married. At the very least I'd see a lawyer about it. 

I do agree about groceries. Why isn't dad spending on groceries when his kid is there 

ESMOD's picture

I might just go to disposables for her time there.. and make her dad pay for that. "since I am not washing dishes for everyone DH".  Now.. if you see the breakdown in the household chores as fairly equal.. your DH does more of another type?  then maybe the expectations need to be more managed as "as long as she takes care of her own self and messes.. that is my minimum line in the sand"?

CLove's picture

What to do.

The more I think about things the more I go in circles.

Her comment of:

"you just think of me as a dishwasher and just all about grades"


"You have been more of a mom to me than my own mother, I think of you as a stepmother" (when I commented "well you dont seem to like me that much, you act like xyz and so Ive withdrawn myself quite a bit")

SO, shes noticed that I am treating her like a housemate, rather than a child. Ive even mentioned this to Husband - that I see her more as a housemate than a stepchild. 

So, to me, after school-gate, nothing was resolved. I am trying to let go of my resentment. I stopped being involved in anything to do with her parenting-wise. 

Her assertion and observation that I am just all about dishes is correct. She doesnt come out of her room - her choice. She hasnt invested anything into a relationship with me. Shes old enough to know the difference. Shes heavily invested with her friends. Shes invested with her parents. After all the BS over these past few years, and her lack of remorse and lack of investment I treat her like a housemate, and I think she wants the benefits of stepmom...

CLove's picture

HOWEVER, I am thinking ahead and if she doesnt want to get a drivers license well I cant do anything about that, and if she doesnt want to get a job, I cant do anything about that either.

However I can pay my half of mortgage and prop tax and then do my "special meal plans" and just shop for myself, and charge rent for the room...?

Livingoutloud's picture

You can charge adult children rent. It's known to happen but I think your DH might not agree. I'd ask him what he thinks. I expect a big argument. He can't even make her wash dishes. Would he agree for her to pay rent? 

And yes you can buy groceries only for yourself. And cook for yourself. It's not uncommon.   

But at this point SD is a minor. She has to live with her parents. No you can't charge her rent. But in the future you certainly could. When she is an adult. 

Rags's picture

The TT & FF channeling is strong in this one.\

Really, she thinks tha thaving to clean HER own dishes is mean.

Don't let her use dishes at all. Have her eat off of hte table, counter, or floor. That would be mean.

But oh so much fun!!!


thinkthrice's picture

On this forum that would buy nothing but paper plates and plastic utensils because her kids were so horrible.

And when they threw a tantrum or started being loud or even when they were sleeping she would start to vacuum loudly!  

This sounds like the most visible option and get a good supply of ear plugs.  It might help the disengaging along.

CLove's picture

I can start cleaning her room while shes still sleeping.

Rags's picture

since she likes living in a shit hole so much.

Dirty pans and dishes that she does not clean up, put them on her bed.  Leave it there after she heads back to TT's place.  Let it all simmer and fester so it reeks to high heaven when she gets back.

Lather... rinse.... repeat.

thinkthrice's picture

Clean AROUND her room not in it.  When she starts whining and bawling, power up the vac and down her out.

I just bought a cleaning brush that attaches to my cordless drill.   Very loud and it really cleans soap scum in the shower. 

CLove's picture

She just said that all I care about with respect to her is her dishes, and grades, as in I dont care about her as a person.

Keeping in mind she was having a melt down.

What I got out of it was that she is noticing I am treating her like a housemate and less like a step mom.

la_dulce_vida's picture

Those words from her were meant only to manipulate you. Don't let them work. She has tons of proof that you care about her as a person.

AgedOut's picture

I'm hoping this new fresh morning is reminding you that her little hissy was manipulative. She didn't want to do dishes, in the past when she didn't want to do something required of all household members or she is in trouble, she invented a reason to have a meltdown and instantly you became the bad guy and she walked away whistling having gotten what she wanted: everyone mad at you aand her getting out of doing her own dishes/being held accountable/flunking. 

When you reply to her hissy, the tears come out and she blubbers and snot bubbles her way into being a victim of you. Then she's miraculously all better and Daddy, Mommy and big sister all blame YOU. She uses you as a tool to get her out of trouble, chores and if you need a reminder...$800 phone as a reward for being a shit. 


Don't engage her hissys. It will backfire every single time. Do not let her manipulate the situation w/ her tears and booger bubbles. 

Winterglow's picture

Rather than say 

"I care about you, and just want the best for you. You are sweet smart and creative and the world is open and ready for you...""

Go with 

"Put a sock in it, kiddo, the crocodile tears don't work with me. Now, just do it."

And walk away.

CLove's picture

Shes had meltdowns before and I never really made that connection between her and her sister. Her sister goes into rages and it doesnt go well for her. SHE goes into booger bubbles and tears and she gets rewarded and coddled. It works for her.

I just so want to say something.

AgedOut's picture

Please don't. Sit on your hands, go punch something, go for a walk, a hike, a run but if you say anything she will turn it into a you picking on her again and then you'll be forced to deal with your husband mad at you and her smiling happily because she got her way... 


Winterglow's picture

Read my  comment above and stop trying to make sense of a teen who has never been taught how to be a decent human being. 

Rags's picture

'Go to your room until you get your snot bubble and tear problem under control.'

Video her manipulative booger and tear fest and post it for all of her friends to see.

Lather..... rinse.... repeat.

Humiliation is a great behavior modification tool.



la_dulce_vida's picture

I wonder what would happen if you were to go all booger bubbles and start crying when she's being a turd to you? Would your husband be like putty in your hands?

AgedOut's picture

repeat this inside your head: I will not let her manipulate me so that she can play victim. 



MissK03's picture

I didn't read all the comments. But buy paper plates. If we didn't use paper plates we would never have dishes... 5 of us. Boom dishes solved. 

No idea why you are STILL telling her to clean up etc. DH needs to do this. She's failing at growing up, you see this, FFjr in the making because both their parents have failed them. The ONLY reason you got somewhat of SD16 was because she was young when you met her. FF was already gone. 

You REALLY need to decided what you want out of all this.... it's been over a year (I think) going around and around the circle. 

You are also way to focused on your relationship with her and how she sees you... honestly who cares at this point. 

I haven't spoken a word to SS19. He knows how I feel and I don't give an F. His siblings feel the same though. So it's not me being evil.

Drop your rope with SD16.

MissK03's picture

I fight that battle x3. I go straight to SO. SD I can get away with more.. SS19 clearly straight to SO and even with SS18. I haven't told SS19 to pick up anything in years. Like I said straight to SO. That's what you NEED to do with SD.

1st3rd5thWEInHell's picture

Yours at least listens and does what she is told. If i told the steps to do their own dishes, they would scoff and ignore me. Thats why i have paper plates and cups. They use them and dont even bother throwing them in the trash, i am trash pickup!

Your SD doesnt like you because you arent her servant. Take it from me, I would rather be feared and respected than well liked.

TrueNorth77's picture

Man does she have it rough! Cleaning up her own dishes and after herself? That's so hard! Imagine being entitled enough to complain about that....  You did great staying calm, because I'm not sure I would have. 
I too would have a hard time not telling her to do these things because my DH just doesn't see dirty dishes or care, and I start to get angry when they pile up. I would almost rather have a skid resent me than live in a pigsty. Hopefully someday she will realize you weren't asking you much or being a horrible SM. 

I feel you, I'm in the trenches with you dealing with these teen girls...