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Does Anybody Get Anxiety when SKs come?

FrustratedandLost's picture

DH and I have been together for ten years and married for seven. He has two daughters; one that is 23, who doesn't talk to him, and one that is 21, who acts like a miniwife whenever she's around. She recently moved to another city  2 1/2 hours away with her BM to go to a nursing program. She currently comes once a month to stay for the weekend, friday through sunday, to work four hours on one saturday a month. Whenever she comes to visit, I get anxiety because she is a strong willed girl that if you say something to her in the wrong tone of voice, she has an attitude toward you. I feel like I walk on eggshells in my new home that her dad and I just moved into in October. She has only been here once and she walked in, dropped her stuff on the floor, played with the dogs and walked into our kitchen and started to go through our refrigerator and pantry to see what there was to eat. (I think that's totally disrespectful. Am I wrong to think that?) But when she moved with mom, she left some stuff with us and I had asked her when she was here if she was going to do something with her clothes that she bagged up and left for us to store in one of our other room closets. I didn't have an attitude with her and at the end of the conversation, just said ok after she rudely said I already talked to my dad about it. I mentioned to her dad about the conversation and it turns out she said I had an attitude toward her. I told him that I had already told him what I said and that she was a manipulating, lying brat. Whenever I know that she's coming to our house, I feel anxiety and dread her visit. I know that I shouldn't feel like this because it is my house but DH and I have never been united when it came to dealing with behavioral problems with his daughter. DH has never dealt with this kid and her behavior and if she tells him not to have an attitude toward her, he shuts up.  During the girls high school years, DH had to work from 3pm to 11:30pm and wasn't home taking care of problems with the kids. The SD I'm talking about, is strong willed, thinks she's entitled to what she wants and is relentless until she gets what she wants, and acts like a total B****. Usually her BM gives in and does what she wants. DH has gradually stopped doing for her. I just don't know what to do. She is out off from school for 6 weeks from December to January and I already voiced my opinion that SD should not stay the whole time with us, even though she has not told him anything about being here during that time. I told him that she could stay part of the time but the whole time would be too long and that I didn't want her here. I also told him that she should not walk into our home and act like she owns this house because it is not her house and that she needs to show respect when she comes here and ask for stuff. I also told him that she needs to ask about coming here before she actually does, that this is our house and not hers. During the whole ten years of our relationship, we have never had any privacy in our relationship because we were living with his mom. I am so frustrated with myself for staying for as long as I have in this situation and putting up with the crap, now moving into a house that I have wanted for the past ten years of our relationship. I don't know what I should do to be tactful with his daughter when she comes to visit to have boundaries with her. I feel like my husband is not a help and doesn't have my back because he thinks I'm picking on his daughter. (He doesn't put boundaries on his daughter because he grew up without boundaries from his parents.) How do I handle this stuff? I literally don't like this kid and wish she would just stay away forever. I've tried to express my feelings to DH but he doesn't listen to me because he thinks I'm picking on her. But I finally told him that I'm not the one that has a problem with her; his daughter has had a problem with me since we started dating because she wasn't number one anymore. I need some help with how to handle having her here and not feeling like a meek little church mouse in my own home. If she stays here with us during her time out of school, I have a feeling that she is going to want a key to our house and DH will probably give it to her, even though he's the one that says nobody is getting a key to our house. How does everybody deal with their anxiety when their SKs come to visit and how does everybody talk to their DH about how they feel without making DH feel like they are attacking DH kids. Has anybody dealt with a problem like this and how did they handle it? Any suggestions on how to do things for me and not put my energy on her? Am I wrong to say that I don't like the kid and wish she wouldn't even come here? Thank you in advance for your advice. 


Harry's picture

It's your house, it's your way or the highway..  don't want her stuff just throw it out.  You gave her fair warning. Tell her not to go into the refrigerator and pantry, but ask you if you have anything to eat.  That she can not screw up dinner.  If she doesn't listen, just order takeout for yourself on DH CC.  Then let him handle it. 

missgingersnap2021's picture

Ughhh!! Your post is one of my worst nightmares! SD is 17 and a senior. My hope is that DH and I move to a new house and I do not want SD to have a key to that house and I can see DH giving her one, my plan though is to get one of those locks that you can make it so you have to put a code in to unlock the door and you can change that code whenever you want. That way I can be sure she can't waltz in whenever she feels like it. 

As for her belongings and really any topics - I would have DH talk to her. I would also make him tell her that her things have to placed in her room (guest room) as soon as she gets there. I hate a messy house so SD learned at the very beginning to bring her things to her room when she gets here. 

As far as going through the kitchen - hide the good stuff until after she leaves. 

CLove's picture

Decide how you want to approach this with your DH. Either discuss with him directly then her or just go directly to her, with him around. I also have gotten the  whole "your just picking on my child" thing. Even though hes bugged by the same things. 

Discuss ahead of time with your DH what you want to happen in YOUR household. He can agree or not, but you MUST stand strong. He is acting spineless when it comes to mini wife SD and hes acting defensively when it comes to you. SO, you will more than likely not be on the same page. Get your notes together. Write it out so you dont let nerves get the best of you. 

You are looking to establish Boundaries and boundaries are healthy. She doesnt respect boundaries and when you try to instill them will go on the attack. You must lay out expectations to your DH. And then tell him that they will be enforced.

Theres no way in he!! Id be giving her a key to MY home. SD22 Feral Forger doesnt have a key. But she doesnt live with us and has gone no contact. SD15 doesnt have a key either. And as to stomping into your home with an attitude riffling through your kitchen to find something to stuff herself with? Oh HELL no to that.

If your husband cannot establish and enforce boundaries and support you in those things, then you need to rain holy heck on him.

As to conquering your fear and anxiety - perhaps seek some counseling. Read posts here - there are many that have really great advice! Look up mini wife. Thats an whole topic of its own Biggrin

step-out's picture

Ugh! Makes my stomach turn reading your post... honestly, I'm a stepdaughter on both mom and dads side and have ALWAYS been kind, respectful and curious around my SPs. 

FrustratedandLost's picture

You are rare to say the least. I have friends and coworkers that have SKs and their SKs don't treat them the way my SD does. Were you ever angry that your parents had new spouses that they were busy with or did you ever feel like you were being replaced? How did you handle that situation?


step-out's picture

I didn't feel angry or jealous but I did feel that both stepparents were not very kind. As I've gotten older I have found that I understand them so much better and that they're much kinder than I gave them credit for. Now, I'm a SM and I'm in the exact same situation as you and have enormous anxiety about visits. DH is kinda gutless and doesn't set any boundaries, so "borrowing" stuff isn't asked. Makes me fume! The upcoming holidays has already got my heart beating and I'm being "tested" by SD with whom I've had extreme difficulties with from day 1. 

Tried out's picture

It makes me see red when someone cops an attitude with me. The purpose of the attitude is to make you walk on egg shells so they can control both you and the situation.

So I don't walk on egg shells. I - not rudely, but strongly - call them out on it. This is my house, you don't get to act that way toward me, I don't let people treat me that way, etc. etc. etc. If she gives you lip, tell her to lose it or leave.

In a situation like yours, when this is what she regularly does, I would say in the past, you got away with speaking to me this way - but not anymore. This is my house and these are my rules. I suggest you decide if you can stop acting the way you do because if you can't you should plan on not coming here.

And if SO gets upset I would lay it out for him the very same way. Bottom line, taking crap from his kids is the same as taking crap from him, if he allows it. No more complaining to him and him doing nothing. I would deal with it myself and if it causes major problems, so be it.

I realize this sounds very harda$$ but oh, well. 

CLove's picture

The purpose of the attitude is to make you walk on egg shells so they can control both you and the situation.

SD15 Does this. I call it "the freeze out". When she does this - DH will try to make jokes and smooth things over.

I called her out on it a few days ago. She was descibing how she was having a conflict with a friend at school and I asked her "so they can tell you are upset with them - because you did the "freeze out"?


shellpell's picture

I agree with this 1000%! It is YOUR home. How dare she treat you like that in YOUR home? Take back your power. Like Tried wrote, if it causes a bow up, oh well. If that's what you need to find peace in your own home, then so be it.

Winterglow's picture

Time to remind your dh that the house belongs to him and YOU, not him and see. SD is a fully fledged adult and should be thinking about getting her own place, not behaving like daddy's little girl who still lives with him. 

Deal with every thing as it comes, TELL her to kindly stop rifling through YOUR fridge, to take her stuff straight to her room, etc. If your dh doesn't like it, tell him you'd do the same with any other adult who had no understanding of how to behave in other people's homes. 

If he pulls the "you hate my daughter" number, tell him that isn't true but you hate her entitled behavior and lack of social graces not to  mention her lack of comprehension of social cues. 

By the way, were your in-laws divorced? I asked because you said that he grew up with no boundaries... 

FrustratedandLost's picture

My In Laws were never divorced. I never met my father in law, as he died about 25 years ago and my mother in law has no backbone to stand up to anybody. I say DH grew up with no boundaries because his parents worked night shifts, owned their own small grocery store in a small town, and so DH and six siblings were on their own most of the time. Therefore they did not get taught boundaries and discipline. When my father in law and mother in law would be home with the kids and if one of DH siblings mouthed off or got smart towards mother in law, father in law would put them in their place. Other than that, there really weren't any boundaries or discipline at home. But that is no excuse for DH to let his brat kid act the way she has. DH was going through his divorce the first three years we were together and it wasn't until 2014 that it was resolved. During this time, he acted more like a friend to his SD 21. So she has never had any consequences put on her. And if DH said there were consequences, DH never followed through with it. He failed with her which is why she is the way she is. It's a screwed up situation and I've called him on it multiple times. I've told him to quit acting like a friend to her and act like a parent but he doesn't. He does think that I pick on her and that I concentrate on her too much but I tell him that I don't like her attitude of entitlement and his lack of reaction and discipline to her. 

shamds's picture

University but its like the moment he walked through those doors, the vibe went negative. What was a positive vibe immediately disappears. When i made the decision to disengage, i would rush upstairs to our bedroom with our then toddlers and chill out (our bedroom is big so kids slept in their cots then).

i remember telling my husband that it was so depressing having his son there because he makes it well known we aren't welcome but doesn't have the balls to say it and when i am the one caring for the house, its disrespectful to just have his kid rock up to our marital home because i feel not like his wife but a boarder.

its hard enough with ss toxic negativity, i'd like tocat least emotionally prep myself for it.

with sd's i have removed myself completely, they burnt too many bridges that I don't ever see myself wanting any relationship with them ever especially when the eldest guilted her dad for marrying me.

AgedOut's picture

"if you do not care for the rules in this home, you do not need to visit us" 

"while you are here we expect x.y.z" 

"this is my home, I will not be pushed around or told how to act/speak" 


Don't let her set the theme for your home. 

ESMOD's picture

It's tough when your partner's rules and boundaries don't align with yours.  I know my MIL used to think we were terrible for making the girls ask us for a snack or drink.  I was raised to ask my parents (mom mostly) so that I could have an approved snack.. and not eat right before a meal etc.. 

My MIL? her pantry and fridge is open season for everyone.. and she would never "deny a child food".. hahaha

I explained that in our home we make kids ask so they don't eat something planned for another purpose. .don't ruin their appetite.. don't eat all of the luxury item we purchased for the whole house to share etc..

But different households have different rules on that.

Clearly, she and your DH see your new home as her home also.  It's a fine line now.. she is over 18.. but still lives with mom mostly.. but I'm guessing expects and your DH expects she also be welcome at his home.  

You don't consider the home hers.. and while she is an adult.. lots of young adults still feel familiarly welcome to go to their parent's home.. raid the fridge etc...

The challenge you have in front of you is framing this to him without making it about excluding her.. and piling on your other complaints about her attitude etc...

So, focusing on something like insisting she give notice when she will be coming by.. because we don't want her to waste a trip right? 

Can she check with one of us before raiding the fridge.. I may have had plans for something and she wouldn't know unless she asks first.  I would hate to not have an ingredient I planned on using.. or missing things I was going to pack for our lunches at work.

Try to not interract with her as much as you can to avoid the attitude wars too.. lol.