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Advice needed

Naturelover's picture

I am debating right now if I have my daughter live with her dad o'n a permanent basis. I know she doesn't like her step dad, I'm not sure if she ever has. He expects a lot more out of everybody and she doesn't want to engage at all. I have not dealt with things as I should have - I have tried many things. I had her in counseling, I have tried talking and journaling with her, I have given her more wiggle room than I should have because I am afraid of damaging her psyche. Now, the question is - she doesn't want to really have anything to do with my husband and his kid and the behavior is rubbing off on her sister. How do I deal with this? I don't want to choose between my husband and my daughter but is my daughter forcing me to? Do I have her stay at her dads and pick her up from there to spend time with her? Maybe stay at my parents with her some weekends so we can spend time together? And then, eventually, could she come back to my house? Very tough decisions, any advice would be very apprecaited.


Naturelover's picture

I think my daughter is trying to show how unhappy she is. She does not like my husband, my stepdaughter or perhaps even my step son. I am thinking I need to have her live at her dad's permanently, at least for an extended time. I could pick her up on the weekends and do things with her - maybe do a couple overnight trips. I don't know if that will help, maybe strengthen our bond and then in turn, the others will fall into place?

The big question is - is it fair to everyone to have them feel on edge always because of her behavior ? Do I move out with my girls or have my daughter move in to her dads? I just want to make the best decision as a mom that doesn't make my daughter traumatized

OKtoStep's picture

What makes you think your daughter doesn't like your husband? What has she said/done to communicate that idea to you? 

Naturelover's picture

She has talked to her older brother and told him that she doesn't like my husband. My son does not live with me - he is an adult

tog redux's picture

Why doesn't your daughter like him? We need more info. If he's the problem because he "expects too much", don't send her away to keep your marriage. 


Winterglow's picture

I'd be interested in hearing what expecting too much means. Does he expect her to tidy up after herself? Keep her room clean? Do a couple of chores around the house? Enlighten us, OP.

tog redux's picture

Right - or is he a tyrant that really does expect too much? She's saying he doesn't like it that her daughter keeps to herself, but that makes no sense.


lieutenant_dad's picture

I put my assessment below, but I don't think it matters what his expectations were/are of his SD. The problem is OP allowing everyone in her family to have an opinion about her DH and not shutting them down when they express that opinion. I have no doubt that, over time, he became harder and harder on SD, but likely because OP allowed more and more. And when he saw the younger one following behind, he has decided to nope out of it.

It's the same situation tha many people on here complain about; we're just hearing it from the BP side versus the SP side.

Gimlet's picture

I'm usually pretty knee-jerk protective of kids when men are described as being "too hard on them" from my experience as a kid, but I am leaning toward your thoughts, LD.

The fact that OP's family was abusive to her husband to the point that she had to cut them off and now she's opened the door back up to them despite there being no real apologies or ownership of that abuse is a giant red flag. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

And I could be wrong. However, it doesn't sound like the DH is the one asking for SD to live with Dad, and it doesn't sound like he is trying to forbid OP from seeing her kids or even talking to her parents. I don't controlling a-hole vibes from his behavior. In fact, Living Apart Together seems like a pretty healthy compromise for the situation.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Tell me if my assessment is accurate, OP:

Your family, specifically your parents, don't like your husband just because he isn't blood-related. Your kids were exposed to that toxic mindset, and it seems like the eldest may have latched onto it. Despite saying what your parents did was wrong, your actions showed that you thought they MIGHT be right because you kept engaging with your family and then re-engaged with them even though they hadn't changed their attitude or expressed remorse for what they did.

So your daughter has grown up around people thinking her SF is trash, and she treats him like trash. Then, as you've done with your parents, instead of putting up a firm boundary with your daughter and instructing her on how she will act (even if she has mental health issues, this can be done), you coddled her so she didn't hate you at the expense of your husband and his kids.

Your DH has likely resorted to being meaner and more strict as time has gone on out of frustration and protection of himself and his kids. My guess, too, is that he has changed tactics from time to time, feeling a bit bipolar as he tries to win against you and your daughter.

Now, he's probably noticed that the youngest is starting down the same path, and as the oldest has gotten older, you've allowed more freedom because she has "earned" it through age. Your DH is tired of being the emotional punching bag from your family and getting a "they can't help it, just let it go" response from you.

So instead of putting your foot down with your daughter and working with her therapist to come up with appropriate goals and consequences for behavior, and working consistently with your own therapist to figure out why you put your husband last on the list of priorities and why you allow people to manipulate you, you want to pass your bad parenting off to your ex so that you don't lose a husband that you allowed to be tormented for years because you don't want to lose him.

This is a series of selfish decisions on your part. You want your parents no matter who it hurt. You wanted to keep your daughter happy no matter who it hurt. You want to keep your husband no matter who it hurt.

Your DH is right about living separately and dating on weekends. YOU need to fix yourself and fix your kids. You don't have time to be a wife right now. You don't have the capacity to make it work. I don't think couples therapy would work much right this moment (despite my comment on your last blog) because you can't make decisions where you aren't the primary benefactor.

I know this sounds super harsh and brutal, and I could be entirely wrong. But having been the spouse that was willing to end it all because years of begging for change didn't result in anything except maybe a gift or a couple days of change, I can tell you that it takes a lot to get to that point. Ending a marriage is generally not something that someone takes lightly, and when they are serious about it, they've reached their end.

The only person in your family who cares about him is you, but you haven't stopped the filth from the others from lapping over him. That emotional toll will take time and space to heal, and healing for him may not include you.

Iamwoman's picture

"...because you can't make decisions where you aren't the primary benefactor."

This! ^^^

Much better put than, but completely in alignment with, my assessment yesterday.

Evil3's picture


Lieutenant_Dad, you took the words right out of my mouth!

justmakingthebest's picture

Schools are currently out in most areas for the rest of the year and kids are doing virtual learning. 

I would suggest sending her to live with her dad from now until school starts. Don't make any other major decisions beyond this summer right now. Taking a break is totally ok for the family and the environment. 

Is dad local? Can you reverse the current visitation schedule (If he get's every other weekend, that is what you would get)? 

lieutenant_dad's picture

That's assuming Dad wants or can have full-time visitation. It's also not fair to upend his life so that OP can save her marriage. It shouldn't be an automatic that Dad just takes the kid without OP having a discussion with him first, so that he can also have a discussion with anyone in his household about it.

beebeel's picture

If you actually wanted to save your marriage, you would listen to your husband when he tells you what he needs. Then you would parent your daughters according to those needs. If you aren't willing to step up and actually parent, you are going to be faced with the same problems over and over again. Be prepared to send your younger daughter off too, because you are failing to parent her as well.

Kids need coping skills. And if you're too afraid to teach them these vital skills for fear of "damaging their psyches" they are doomed to a life full of anxiety and shit for problem solving.

lieutenant_dad's picture

You make a good point about the listening to what he needs part.

OP - your DH has told you that he wants to live apart. Give him that.

Evil3's picture

I commented three times on your last post. Here's one:

"I get the part about not wanting to damage your DD's psyche. I was raised in an insane home and I went overboard to prevent my DD20 from being damaged like I was. I discovered that I gave her WAY too much wiggle room and WAY too much say. That is what is happening with your DD and why she felt entitled to treat your DH the way she has. She should have been taught that she does not have say in her mother's choice of a spouse and as long as your DH isn't abusive, your DD should have been taught that when people marry, household rules change and your DD should have sucked it up. She can dislike her SF as much as she wants, but she MUST respect him. Anyway, I get how easy it is to grant a child too much wiggle room. But you know the saying about when we know better we do better."

Naturelover's picture

thank you for your reply. I have made a decision to have my DD live with her dad for the time being - I have not spoken with her yet. I need to be sure my head is clear. She does respect her SF in the sense that she is not rude to him but it is obvious that she does things in this house because she has to, not because she wants to. Common decency is out the window - she doesnt always say hello/goodbye etc. I am going to put this in a way that she gets a break - I have bent over backwards for this girl her entire life. All I am asking from her is to act a part of the family - she can't do that right now. So, I need to give her time and hopefully, at some point, she will want to come and be a part of our family. I should have done this a while back, it has come up between us, It is just very difficult as a mom - I want my daughter with me. I am going to look at this as a way to rebuild our relationship though - without outside influences. I thank you for all your replies

Evil3's picture

Here's my other response on your last post:

" do have tough decisions to make but right now, it is basically a choice between my daughter and my husband"

No this is not about choosing one over the other. This is about addressing your DD. Addressing your DD for shitty behaviour isn't abandoning her. She may manipulate and claim that, but it isn't that. I don't know why some parents see this as choosing. It isn't choosing at all. Drop the word "choosing" from your vocabulary.

As someone who has gone through what your DH has, I can tell you that at this point your DH hates your DD with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. When my DH confronted me on hating my SD's guts, I told him that I did and that it was his fault for allowing her abuse of me for so long. If he had stepped up a lot sooner than he had, I wouldn't have gotten to the point of hating her as much as I do. You have given your DD WAY too much power to have allowed her to treat your DH the way she has simply because she doesn't like him and then to make a flimsy excuse about how he has high standads or is strict. You married him, so you know that even if he might be strict, it doesn't mean abusive. When people marry, household rules change and your DD should have been told to suck it the fuck up.

At this point your DH really needs to not live with your DD. However, you still have options. You can take your DH up on the offer of separating households and reuniting when your DD launches at 18. If you choose this option, make sure there's a date that isn't too far in the future. I waited with baited breath for my forever-to-launch SD30 to finally move out at 25. It is totally unreasonable to expect a spouse to wait that long. The other option is to stay together in the same house, but have your visits with your DD outside your home. Give it some time and work on reunification or since your DD is 16, she wouldn't have that much longer at home if she were out at 18 anyway and visits outside the home can be the new normal.

Honestly, your DH is shell-shocked. It's traumatic to go through being disprespected and excluded in your own home. It's traumatic to work and financially contribute to the roof over the head of your abuser.

Forget the concept of "choosing." That's probably why you're so reluctant to discipline your DD. It's not choosing. Besides, do you want your DD to grow into an adult who acts the way she does to your DH? You'd be saving her just as much as you're saving your marriage. You're modeling marriage for your kids too. How would you feel if one or all of them came to you ten years from now and told you that their spouses were allowing them to be abused the way your DH has?

It's good that you're taking responsibility. And it's hopeful that your DH is willing to carry on a relationship with you in separate houses rather than outright divorce you.