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Acting Civil with a Two-Faced SD

FrustratedandLost's picture

Hi Everyone!

So my thing is that my youngest SD has had a jealous streak, IMO, since I started dating DH. She used to have a close relationship with DH before divorce and then when he moved to a different town away from BM, their relationship was not as close. About three months after DH moved to new town, I met DH. So, SD wasn't number one anymore when I came along. Fast forward ten years later, DH and I have recently bought our first home. SD has only been here once and that one time, she copped an attitude and then lied to DH and said that I had one towards her. I told him previously what had happened before he ask her about it, at which time she lied and told him that I had the attitude. Since then I don't want the brat (putting it nicely), in my house again. We actually got into a really bad disagreement a couple weeks ago, at which I told him that she was a lying, manipulating brat. Well, we got past that argument and now this monring, DH gets a call from SD that she will be here on Friday to work at her job and then is leaving on Saturday. (She works for a department store four hours a month to keep her job that she has had for about four years now.)

She will not be here on Thanksgiving and I know that she wants to do something for his birthday. I ask him after he got off the phone if she was going to be staying here and he said yes and snottily said do you have a problem with that. I responded by saying as long as she watches her Ps and Qs, to which he didn't say anything. Then I asked if he wanted to do something for his birthday while she was here. He said that lunch was mentioned on the phone when he was talking to her. I have a feeling that SD will want to spend time with DH without me there and in a way that hurts my feelings. Both SDs have never really looked at me as their stepmother but just the woman that married their dad. So I have felt hurt more than once in the time that I've been in their lives because they didn't include me in plans that were being made or talked to DH being secretive when I was in the room i.e. texting him or talking low. I've been blamed because they didn't get the time alone with their dad, to which I have defended myself and said that I have never stopped DH from doing anything with SKs. 

When DH and I had the argument, I told him that I didn't want her here and that she was a manipulating brat with an attitude and that he should've been more of a parent than a friend. For the first three years of our relationship, DH was still trying to settle his divorce at which time he didn't discipline his kids with the fear that they would run back to their mom. So, the kids didn't really get consequences or rules or discipline when needed. He said that I've always had a problem with her to which I said that she's the one that's had the problem with me since the beginning because it wasn't about her anymore. She acts very snotty if somebody has an attitude toward her but she will raise her voice to him or she's raised her voice to DH mom. She's like a miniwife; if she tells him not to have an attitude with her or she'll leave, he shuts up. He has a problem, I know. 

Am I wrong for being hurt that the SD doesn't act like I'm a part of her dad's life. Am I wrong to feel hurt that she wants to spend time with her dad alone since she doesn't live with us and only comes once a month? am I just being insecure and being sensitive about it? I don't know what the right answer is. I know that I need to learn how to take care of myself and do things for myself. I haven't done anything to pamper myself for a long time and I used to do things like get my nails done or my hair done or go for a drive by myself. But since I met my DH, I don't do hardly anything for me. Am I concentrating too much on her? Maybe I feel like she's competition to me and vice versa. I don't know. When she's around I feel like I have to walk on eggshells because like I said, if she doesn't like the tone of voice, she will not talk to me. I am a sensitive person and have never disciplined DH kids. I have gotten into one argument with the SD and that was when she was in high school. I told her at that point that I wish she wasn't at our wedding. This kid is strong willed and doesn't let people talk to her rudely or she has an attitude and doesn't talk to them. 

Any advice about what I should do or if the feelings I have are wrong? Thank you in advance for your help. 


ESMOD's picture

I don't think we are wrong for having the feelings we have.  It sounds like you don't have a good relationship with her and it does seem like you view her father's connection as somewhat of a competition with her.  

But, I think you are letting a very small amount of time in your day to day life grow in magnitude and allowing her to take up too much space in your head.

She sees her dad once a month.  Honestly, I don't think I would be hurt that she wasn't interested in sharing that time with me since there is some mutual dislike between you for lack of a better words.

One thing you did say that I don't think is wrong on her part is that she doesn't stand for people to talk to her rudely.  She shouldn't have to accept that and if she chooses to disengage and not talk to someone who treats her rudely.. that actually is somewhat of a healthy boundary for her to maintain.

now, she may be making accusations of rudeness that haven't been meant that way.. but based on some of your posting here. it's possible she gets the underlying vibe you have towards her.. even if she was part of creating that vibe in you over time.

I think in this situation when you have relatively little need to have interractions with her, I would disengage.  If she and her dad want to have a solo lunch.. once a month? that's fine.  On the day she comes over once a month I might find other things to keep myself occupied ... be civil when you have to interract but keep it to a minimum.  

Because it isn't a competition.. and you DO have him the lion's share of the time.. and if you and his daughter don't click.. that doesn't mean you have to make it into a mountain.. she is an adult now and no longer really a day to day force in your life.  Unless she is actively doing things TO you or undermining you with your DH.. I would let her have her day.. and just stop letting it be a speed bump in your relationship.

tog redux's picture

Well, you can't make her view you as stepmother and like you, but you certainly should not be treated with disrespect in your own home. Personally I would be fine with her and DH having their own separate relationship and not being included, but I would expect DH to make clear to her that if she is in our home, I will be treated respectfully or she will not be invited over again. 

I think the main issue is that your DH is one of these men who can't stand up for their wives and hold their kids accountable. So he ends up making both you and SD furious because he doesn't clarify the boundaries and thereby sets up a competition. In other words, if he made clear to her that you are his wife and are to be respected, you wouldn't feel so insecure about it, and she would eventually stop trying to "win".

That said, you can only control you. So set your own boundaries on being treated with respect, and go pamper yourself when she's around. 

FrustratedandLost's picture

Do you think that when SD walks into our house that she needs to ask for stuff, like going unto the kitchen  and helping herself without asking? She did that last time she was here and I thought it was rude. 

tog redux's picture

Was it previously her home? I used to do that at my parents' house, after I was an adult. They didn't expect me to ask though. My SS sometimes does that when he's here as well (within reason, not eating everything or taking stuff that isn't his).  

FrustratedandLost's picture

My DH and I just bought this house. So this is not her home. She has only been here once. Is it rude to walk into someone else home and do that? Is it a respect thing? Or am I being too controlling about what she can and cannot do.

Winterglow's picture

I don't think you're being too controlling. She is not your daughter, this has never been her home. Her going and helping herseif in your kitchen was extremely rude in my book.

No, I've never asked my parents if I could have food in their home (OTOH, I never helped myself to stuff in the fridge possibly because we weren't rolling in money when I was growing up and you just didn't touch stuff that might be part of the next meal), but OP is not her parent here.

ESMOD's picture

But, it IS her father's home too... and so why does that change the rules so much?  I just don't see this as an outright move meant to disrespect anyone.  I'm sure SD didn't have much to say to OP.. but they don't have a close relationship... but grabbing a soda from DAD's fridge? I don't see that as designed to be hurtful.


Winterglow's picture

Hurtful and rude are two different things. She's an adult and is fully capable of asking if she can grab a a soda simply out of respect for her stepmother. BTW, we don't know it was just a soda she grabbed. Supposing she helped herself to leftovers that were destined for OP and her husband's dinner? 

ESMOD's picture

I don't think it's overly rude.  Many children see their parent's home as "theirs" to an extent.. a place where they aren't a typical guest.. but family...and the rules that guided their lives while living at "home" (even though this is not the litteral same real estate.. it is dad's home). 

I mean, the opposite argument for rudeness would be that she arrives and expects for everyone to wait on her hand and foot.. serving her snacks and drinks etc..

So is it better that she goes and gets a drink vs asking to be waited on? I guess it depends on how the household formality runs.

My father's home is one I have never lived in but I absolutely don't have to ask him to get a drink from the fridge when I visit.  He expects that I "make myself at home".

I don't think she intended this as rudeness.


stepmomnorth's picture

I think that varies widely from household to household and depends what you prefer. I never asked for food at my parents house.  My step kids ask sometimes. But we've told them before they can help themselves to what's in the cupboard. If they were excessively eating so much that it prevented others from having something we'd speak up. But they just go make themselves soup, sandwiches etc. If you prefer they ask I would make it known.

ESMOD's picture

We used to have my SD's ask to get things in our house.. I mean, we had a little store of free range drinks and snacks they could grab but more than that? they were to ask... It was actually more when they were younger in the home when we wanted them to ask so we could make sure they weren't ruining their dinner by eating junk too much.  As adults they would be free to grab a water or whatever if they wanted it.