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Mini-Wife is Baaacckkk!

katielee's picture

Last time I updated on here a couple months ago, I told you all we got custody of my 12 year old stepdaughter. At that time things were going great, but even then I suspected it wouldn't last.

It didn't.

We're right back to where we were about a year ago when I first started fighting this battle with the "mini-wife syndrome." Now that Daddyyyy has gone to all the effort of getting custody of princess, now she thinks his world should once again revolve around her. With me she is moody, disrespectful, and altogether horrible to live with... with him you couldn't ask for a more perfect child. Seriously, I didn't know a 12 year old could be so good at manipulation.

So I'm gearing up once again to fight and win this battle for my marriage.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


farting_glitter's picture

this is why I never understand why ANY SP would fight for custody of Skids.....I know no one can predict what's going to happen afterwards, but I wouldn't take my chances.....hell no.....sorry you are going to have to deal with this...I just hope your marriage can survive it and you come out unharmed!

katielee's picture

Honestly, I didn't feel like I had a choice. BM brought SD12 to us after they found out she was "cutting" herself. (Turns out she scratched herself a couple of times with a razor blade and I doubt it would ever go any further, but I'm afraid to say that because what if it did?)

My husband wanted custody and I feel like it would have damaged our marriage if I hadn't gone along with it. Plus I had hoped, and still hope, at least with her being in our home we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in her behavior. We are still working on that one.

But I have no doubt it's going to be a huge struggle. Having her EOWE was also a huge struggle. I am just having to re-learn how to handle her now that we have her full-time.

askYOURdad's picture

The mini wife phenomenon is so terrifying to me. I try to read as much about it as I can because I hope and pray that I never have to deal with it with DH and his girls. From what I gather though, it seems like a lot of the behavior stems from the Father and that he is really the only one that can put an end to it. I just find it creepy and scary and it's bad enough dealing with BM, the thought of competing with my SD for my own DH is troubling to say the least.

tabby yabba do's picture

I've got two of my own! (SD12 and SD8). It's taken two full years of diligence on my part to end the mini-wife chapter of our relationship, but I'm happy to report there are happy endings! Stay strong! Stay aware! Stay focused! And never let *one instance* of mini-wife behavior go unchecked. It's exhausting but worth it.

tabby yabba do's picture

I repeatedly did/said the same things over and over and OVER until my DH got tired of the skid "chasing" me away with their mini-wife actions. Yes, I was sarcastic at times. Yes, I was pointed with my words. But men do not (always) understand subtle hints on our parts. Say it like it is. Then no one can claim later that they didn't understand.

But most of all, say what you mean and mean what you say. Every. Single. Time. Follow through.

Examples from the past. Using real ages now for simplicity. DH was only BF then:

Out on a date-night with DH to fancy restaurant. SD12 calls DH repeatedly to check in and see how our date is going. DH laughs and talks with her for 5-6 minutes each time. I say nothing and continue to eat in silence. After about call #4:
Tabby: Why don't we bring SD12 on our next date with us? So she can enjoy our meal with us or perhaps make an astute observation as to the menu selections? She can sit right next to you.
DH: What? No way! This is OUR special night! (grinning, pleased with himself for having set up this special date with me)
Tabby: No. It isn't. She's been involved with how/when we were seated. What we ordered. How it's tasted. And what we intend to order for dessert. Next time I'll stay home. You can bring her. I'll take my DD11 out for a fancy dinner. You can find a sitter for your other SD8 while you date your SD12. I'm sure SD8 won't mind playing second-best to SD12 either. She has her entire life. And btw, if you take *one more phone call from SD12 tonight, that is not an emergency* I will call a friend for a ride home. (and I would have)

We throw in a movie at home. It's a family movie so all three kids (my DD, his two SDs) join us. SD12 snuggles up to daddy. My DD11 and SD8 snuggle together. I'm left out.
Tabby: I'll be downstairs if anyone needs me.
DH: Where are you going? Don't leave! The movie is starting!
Tabby: You've already got your date (pointed look at SD12). Enjoy! (I walk out, don't look back. No arguments)

I'm getting ready for bed. There's popcorn everywhere on my side of the bed. My pillow is misplaced and my blankets are wrinkly. The DHs side is undisturbed. This is not the first time this has happened.
Tabby: WTH happened on my side of the bed?
DH: Oh, SD12 watched TV in here and had some popcorn.
Tabby: In our room? On my side of the bed? She has a TV in her own room, and there's a ginormous TV in the family room. We've talked about boundaries regarding any kid "hanging out" in our room, remember?
DH: .... well ....she likes our bigger TV?! It's only once in a while.
Tabby: I will sleep in her bed then, after I change her sheets first. She can sleep in here with you tonight.
DH: No way, you're being unreasonable!
Tabby: Think of that next time you let a skid commandeer my personal space. I shall commandeer her space tonight and you will wash my sheets tomorrow prior to my return. If she is continued to be allowed to commandeer my space, I will move your things into her room so you two can share everything to your heart’s content. I don't share my grown-up space with kids.

On a walk one day with all the kids, beautiful weather.
SD12: Daaaddeeeeee, carry me. I'm tired (she is 11 at this time, she bats her eyelashes. Physically short/small child. Easy enough to carry if one wanted to)
DH: Ok!
Tabby: Who carries her at school when she's tired after recess?
DH:'s no big deal!
Tabby: Does the principal carry her? The school aide? Do they call you from work to drive over and carry her inside? If you're not available, will they start calling me?
DH: But, but....
Tabby: Really, who carries her? How many times have you seen me carry my thenDD10? How many times have you seen DD10s birth father carry her? (we actually socialize a lot with the BF due to kids' sports, etc.). How often does SDthen7 demand to be carried?
DH: Never
Tabby: Why do you think that is?
DH: I don't know
Tabby: Because 11 year old children in good health can and should walk on their own. The only reason they don't is because there's an indulgent parent who allows them not to. She is manipulating you to treat her as if she is 2 years old. You are being controlled by an 11-year old. You are embarrassing yourself and I'm embarrassed for you.

We are preparing to drive somewhere. My DH gets in the driver's seat and I attempt to get in the front passenger seat. SD12 is already sitting there. My DH says nothing, but looks at me as if $hits about to hit the fan. I wait a moment to see if DH is going to resolve this. He doesn't.
Tabby: OH HELL NO!
DH: Get in the back seat, SD12! (she does)
Tabby: If that ever happens again, I will not attend whatever event we are driving to. If it is my event we are attending, you will not sit with me, I will give the tickets to someone else and I will drive myself.

SD12 has a simple head cold (snotty, drippy nose, congestion, no fever and no lethargy). She is whiny and wants more and more attention from DH. She is overly-demanding, playing up her illness to maximize all of DHs attention. After a while, he begins to back off from all of the attention and tells her to just get some rest.
SD12: But Daddy! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! (she is wailing. She is crying. Tears are streaming down her face. She is letting snot drip out of her nose on to my couch) Help me! I can't breathe!
DH: (legitimately concerned) Omg, should we call 911? She can't breathe!
Tabby: She is playing you. And you better wipe that snot off my couch.
DH: Huh? Can't you hear her? She can't breathe!
SD12: I can't breathe, Daddy! I can't breathe!!
Tabby: Look at her. She is screaming. She is wailing. She is moving air normally. Her nostrils are not flared and her neck muscles are not tight. She has no fever. She has never had a history of respiratory distress. Her face is flushed and she looks angry. She. Is. Playing. You.
Then I say to SD12:
Tabby: Wipe that snot off your nose. Help DH clean up your snot-drip off my couch. If you continue to act hysterical, I will bring you to the hospital where they will certainly tell me you are fine. After that, I will insist you have a psychological evaluation to determine why you act this way because it isn't normal. I do not buy this act of yours, and refuse to let you embarrass yourself like this.
The sobbing hysteria IMMEDIATELY stopped. The tears stopped. DH and SD12 cleaned my couch.
(additional note: I'm an EMT and have experienced numerous, legitimate respiratory distress situations. I've observed fake asthma attacks/respiratory distress incidents. This situation was consistent with a fake attack)

You get the idea. In my case, I'm lucky because I never, from day one and before finding Stalk, I never allowed a child to dictate how my world works or the decisions I make. I didn't let my three children do it and I sure as hell wasn't going to let someone else's do it to me. I am the adult. They are the children. Someone has to be in charge Smile (Why I cam to Stalk was because I began to doubt myself and believe that maybe my feelings weren't normal. That I was too strict. I learned I wasn't. You will too.)

But most of all, I had a BF (now DH) who saw the error in his ways and admitted that family and parents of school friends commented on how spoiled and/or difficult his daughters were long before I entered the picture. But I still got a lot of push-back from the DH in the beginning, and we broke up over it once.

He used to use the "You hate my kids!" line a lot. I always responded "I hate your kids lack of manners and disrespect. Not them. There's a difference." or "You don't understand, their mother died" to which I responded "And you can either pity them the rest of your life by making excuses for their poor behavior or you can raise them to overcome the crap life throws their way and encourage them to make good decisions they are capable of and can be proud of"

Sorry so long!!!!

Not the Brady Bunch's picture

That was fantastic, and wish I had started there when all the same shit hit the fan in my house.

katielee's picture

This is great lol.

I did do a few similar things when we first started fighting this battle...

The first thing I addressed was him sitting with her on the opposite side of the booth whenever we went out to eat together. Then they would sit there and cuddle and play and hold hands, basically like they were on a date and I was the third wheel. I told him it bothered me and to please stop. He agreed and sat beside me when we went out to dinner that night. She sat on her side and pouted the whole time. But then the next morning we went to breakfast and he sat on HER side. I guess he thought we'd "take turns." OH HELL NO. I got up and walked out of the restaurant on him. He looked like a fool sitting there on one side of the table with an 11 year old and the other side empty:) He hasn't done that since.

Then we went out in the boat and SD (11 at the time) plopped her butt down next to him in the driver's seat where I always sit. He was supposed to be teaching me to drive the boat so I asked pointedly several times and he seriously tried to show me how to drive while I was standing behind the little princess. NOT HAPPENING. I made him take me to the shore. He wouldn't go back out without me so he finally made her move her ass.

I also walked away from them a couple times in the store when they were walking arm-in-arm in front of me. At first he seemed confused when he found me but pretty soon he got the picture.

This last weekend was the first big problem we've had with this in awhile. I pretty much told him he could spend the day with his mini-wife and I would ride with my son and his family, spend the night with them and have them bring me home "sometime." He vehemently disagreed with that plan and behaved like MY husband the rest of the day.

tabby yabba do's picture

Hahaha, Katielee!! I have *so* many stories of mini-wife incidents, and lol'd about the "sitting on the same side of the booth" scenario you had. I too fought that issue!!! It was a particularly sore subject with me, and every time it happened (maybe 5-6 times over one 12-month period) I went Girlfriend-Foo each time (when I'm about to have an angry-outburst mom moment, I warn everyone "I'm going to go Mom-Foo if you don't knock it off" - and Girlfriend-Foo is similar, but with the SO of course)

The whole "claiming space" next to the DH, in order to exclude me, does NOT fly in my world. Whether it's a restaurant booth, the couch, our vehicles, church, wherever. Doesn't matter. Girlfriend-Foo!

I'm afraid I'm starting to sound like a crazy woman here, but really, this step-parenting stuff is hard work. Smile And having LYS (lose your $hit) moments sometimes need to happen.

SecondPlace007's picture

Your my new Hero
Wish i could wear a wire in my ear so yiu could coach my responses for when BF & his MWife get home if im still here
Might want to look into that bet there's big $$$ to be made where's there's a demand lol
New here...
Suffice it to say My SD 12 is a MW on steroids

NatLove's picture

This is brilliant! BF has accused me of hating his kids recently - this gives me a strategy and perspective on what's going on. We absolutely have a mini-wife situation brewing here. Our relationship is in jeopardy, and I don't know what can help it. Thanks for sharing!

katielee's picture

Here are a few of the things I am learning (with emphasis on LEARNING) but not yet perfected...

~ Nagging DH does no good. And badmouthing SD12 only kicks him into "protective" mode where he feels the need to protect his poor, defenseless little princess from her big bad stepmother.

~ It is more productive for me to gently call SD12 down in front of DH than to tattle on her later. For example, "SD12, did I just hear you lie to your father? I thought I just heard you tell him the reason you didn't help with the dishes is because I did them before you got up, but you and I both know you were lying on the couch playing on your phone while I did the dishes alone."

~ I have to work hard on my relationship with my DH and do my best to be pleasant to him most of the time so that when it really matters and I need him to discipline SD12, he will take me seriously.

~ I deal with my SD12 MYSELF whenever it is possible. I try not to bring him into every issue.

katielee's picture

This is awesome advice if I could make it work. The problem is that she gets home from school at 2:40 and I am home with her until DH gets home around 4:30. I work very early so I get off in time to pick her up from school. Unfortunately, she is in a private school due to her poor behavior/performance in public school so the school bus is not an option:( I have thought about dropping her off and then going to work some more (I do home health visits so my schedule is very flexible) but I am usually very tired in the afternoon and would prefer not to do that. I feel like I can't even come home in my own home:( Any suggestions appreciated:)

Unfreakingreal's picture

Oh God, I am just clenching my jaw in fear of when mini-wife SD13 moves in with us.
She's quite the master manipulator.

hereiam's picture

Old post, but mini wives are not created by themselves. Doormat4u, you have clearly described in your other post and blog (which I think you deleted) a husband problem. In fact, I think you resent your husband more than your stepdaughter.