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I like my stepchild less and less

gratefulheart's picture

I feel awful typing that into the Title field. But it’s the truth.

I have been in my stepchild’s life since she was 4 years old. Her mother abandoned her and moved out of state when was a year old. My husband was never married to her. It was a “young and dumb, let’s party together, oops! I’m pregnant” situation. My stepchild was very ready to have a mom when her father and I started dating and we bonded quickly. She called me “mommy” two weeks after we moved in together. We were shocked but you could tell that she was really happy.

Her mother temporarily moved back with her other child while her other child’s father finished out a prison sentence in their state. We began sharing custody. The judge granted her visitation two days a week. That lasted about a year. My stepchild would come back home acting different at times, but it didn’t disrupt our bond at all.

Her mother moved back as soon as her other child’s father was released from prison. Now she only sees my stepchild 3-5 times per year (depending on when she actually exercises her visitation time).

The older my stepchild gets, the more she gets under my skin. She went from a little girl with empathy and kindness to a little girl who is completely self-centered and fake. I have been around a lot of kids, and she is the only one I have ever seen who has so many different faces for different people. She is manipulative and she completely takes advantage of people. She is over the top dramatic and she is constantly putting on a show. I have practically raised her so I see through all of the acting. My husband is aware of it (even made a comment the other day that she is becoming a “narcissist like her mother”) but doesn’t see it as a serious problem. I do. And I cannot stand the person that she is becoming as she gets older. This summer was the first time that I was actually EXCITED for her to go out of state to visit her bio mom. The more she gets under my skin, the more cold I am towards my husband (I know, that’s really messed up - but I truly cannot help the way that I feel. I am just trying to find a better way of dealing with those feelings and reacting to them).

Has anyone else ever felt the same way? Or been in a similar situation?


Chmmy's picture

She's not your kid. It was hard to love even my own kids at certain ages. They arent always likeable but they are YOUR kids. This one is your step child. I've been a mom for 24 years and a step mom for a little over a year been in the kids life for over 3. When skids are unlikeable you dont like them and they are not your kids so its hard to love that unlikeable kid.

Your situation is differnet as you raised the kid but doesn't change that she is your step child

LOLA_EG12's picture

I agree with this right here. It's not rocket science its instinct. The child is not you blood and never will be, I feel the same way about ss. He's not a terrible kids hell sometimes he's okay but I dont think I can ever bring myself to like him or accept him as part of our family. Is that messed up yea in most cases but no one knows what I feel inside and can't no one tell you you are not allowed to feel what you feel. 

Jcksjj's picture

Nearly identical situation except BM is still involved (although she was planning on abandoning her when I came into the picture to chase her BF at the time). 

Met SD at 4. Honestly I was thrown off by how snotty she was at that age even but figured she would grow out of it (big mistake). Now shes 8 and it's gotten to the point where I can barely tolerate hearing her voice. Same behaviors- fake, overdramatic, mean spirited. Same thing about "narcissist like her mom." I also feel myself being colder towards my husband and it's way worse when shes here (which is half the time).  I havent found a way to deal with it really other than to disengage as much as possible and try to avoid discussing her more than necessary with DH.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

She isn’t your child and never has been and never will be. Disengage 100% from her.

If you want children have some or adopt some. If your DuH balks then dump him and find a guy without prior kid baggage.

beebeel's picture

I would be concerned that your BF doesn't think having a self centered manipulator for a child is a problem. The  girl could benefit from some serious therapy to learn healthy ways of interacting with people. But if your by sees the issues and does nothing, nothing will change and she will continue to emulate her mom.

JBDmom's picture

I have similar feelings towards my step daughter but she’s never been sweet. Since I’ve known her she’s been manipulative and has different personalities depending on who she’s with. I’ve been raising her since she was 3 she’s almost 5 now and she’s improved a lot since I’ve been in her life, but she still has so much to learn. It doesn’t help though that my SO thinks she’s perfect and doesn’t want to hear or help with her behavior issues. 

gratefulheart's picture

JBDmom - It’s good that yours has gotten better. Mine just keeps getting worse and it’s harder to be around her. I’ve been her “main mother” figure for the majority of her life, so I feel guilty.

gratefulheart's picture

Chmmy - I agree. You are 100% on point.

Jcksjj - I am sorry that your situation is so similar to mine, but I am glad that I’m not alone here. Nobody can understand what it feels like unless they are going through the same thing. Thank you for sharing.

Saynoskidschitchat - I am fully aware of that. I think I would remember if I birthed her myself. Thanks though.

Beebeel - My husband seems to think that his little baby is going to “grow out of it.” Good luck with that, right? He’s in denial, and he likes to make excuses.


ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I've been raising mine primarliy for a few years. I do understand where you're coming from. I love them, they call me mom, I believe they love me too. BUT, all that being said, there can be resentment, when DH doesn't control the nasty behaviors it does make me resent him. And sometimes when they're acting out, I literally have to hand them to DH and tell him to handle his own kids and I'll be out of the house.

I know you love them, they are your kids to an extent, but there's also a disconnect sometimes, especially when they're showing nasty behaviors you don't want to see in the kids. It sucks. But you can only do so much. They're yours, but also not, it's a weird balance to walk.

He needs to start enforcing and pushing her though. She's not going to improve unless you're both on the same page and he recognizes the issue and starts working for a SOLUTION.

gratefulheart's picture

ProbablyAlready - Thank you for the message. I’m glad I’m not the only one with these feelings. Makes me feel a little more “normal.” One of the problems with my husband and I enforcing positive behavior is that she ends up going to her mom’s for a week (she gets three one week visits per year and one month in the summer - IF she takes her) and then she comes back with bad behavior. It’s so frustrating because what we do gets undone.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

We call that "the detox."  Ours always come back acting awful too. The only thing that fixes it is the consistent behavior we have Vs. Psycho's crazy and lakc of structure and attention.  It varies in length based of how long the visit was and how much time they actually saw Psycho, vs. being ditched with others.

I know it's frustrating, hopefully overtime she starts to detox quicker for you!!!

Harry's picture

This is the way this kid is.  It’s not your kid that thevgood part.  You can disengage and not feel guilt about it. SD has a BM and BF and you are not one of them. You had no part in creating her, you go not have to deal with her.


gratefulheart's picture

Harry - She lives with us full time, so unfortunately, I DO have to deal with her. Even if I don’t want to.

Want2's picture

If she really does have narcissistic tendencies she will grow into them rather than out. Research is ongoing but they have pinpointed areas in the narcissistic brain that are different. The empathy part is small. You could try helping her develop empathy.

gratefulheart's picture

She used to be extremely empathetic until about age 6 or 7. We don’t know how to bring that back.

Want2's picture

Look for and use every example and situation to point out empathetic behaviors or the lack thereof. Real life, movies, books, all of it. I am glad she had it at one point. I have a child I’m concerned about too and I believe it’s an inherited condition. Look at it like it’s a physical deformation and you’re doing physical therapy to correct it. There’s a weak area that needs to be strengthened. If you are willing to help her, you will be helping yourself and your family as well.

CLove's picture

I am very interesting in this area, as I have the 2 SDs, and one is extremely caring empathetic, sweet and the other is very selfish, narcissistic and is a sociopathic liar. The eldest, the Narc, is exhibiting similar traits to her mother. They often joke about how alike they are, according to munchkin, who really doesnt like her sister all that much right now...I have to be cautious how I appreach this as it might stretch out into "critical of mom" minefields.

I wondered if it was an inherited trait or learned - I thought it was learned!

So it is an actual trait that is passed down genetically? Wowzer - this would explain a LOT.

fancypants711's picture

Wow... was just referred to this site while looking for support groups and clicked on your post first... was wondering for a minute if we had the same BM!  How old is your stepdaughter now?

My situation is eerily similar to yours.  I read another post where you say that she lives with you FT so you can't disengage... this is exactly why I'm here.  I'm so frustrated and lost.  I've been in this kid's life since she was 18 months old, and been married to her dad for the last 12 years, she's 16 now.  Same, same, SAME as you!  We bonded right away, she was the sweetest little girl, had the best manners and we were told all the time how sweet she is (and still do... because fake sweet).  As she got older, my husband began telling me that he would see things in her that were her mom's tendencies and I was always the one giving the benefit of the doubt, saying that stuff isn't genetic, it's all about how you're raised... quietly hoping and praying he was wrong.  

Her bio mom is and has been a fleeting presence in her life, coming and going when it's convenient for her, always swooping in to be super mom.  She's on her 3rd marriage, SD is her 3rd child and she didn't raise or have custody of the first two either.  She has never paid child support, never paid a doctor bill, never bought school supplies... nada.

I really, really don't like this kid right now... after the last incident in which she threw my husband under the bus, I just can't get over it.  She's banished to grandma and grandpa's until... ugh, I dunno... until the dreaded day she comes home I guess.  So yeah... I get it.  Nothing really to add, or advice, but just had to comment because we are so similar.

gratefulheart's picture

Thank you so much for sharing. I honestly just NEED to feel like I’m not alone here. My mom is extremely judgmental of my feelings and I don’t have anyone in my situation that I can talk to and relate to. That’s why I searched for a site like this and I’m glad that I found it.

fancypants711's picture

My mom is the same way... she's the type who was born to be a mother.  She never understood why I didn't have a desire to have kids and assumed my stepdaughter 'filled that need' for me.  She is also a retired teacher, so she's very much of the 'everything is about the kids' type of thinking.  She's very judgemental and only recently have I started to hint to her how frustrated SD is making me and yeah... I feel very judged by her.

gratefulheart's picture

I’m very maternal. I just have no patience for the drama and narcissistic behavior. If I complain about one thing, my mom just does the guilt trip thing and says, “You’re her mommy. You’re all she has known. She loves you so much! Who cares how she acts?” Umm. I do. Ugh!

gratefulheart's picture