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Weird Resentment of my Wonderful DH

NicoleRB's picture

I am having what I'd call irrational resentment and anger towards my DH (we've been together for 4 years but recently married and have been married only for 4 months).  Our marriage coincided with his 13 BD moving out (depsite the fact that we share 50% custody of her) to live with her BM full time.  We have 3 other kids (2 are my biological sons that are teens and one is his teen son), we haven't run into this challenge with the boys, they have been pretty norrmal and accepting of things.  We'd all been living together for about 4 years and I thought we had a pretty nice life.

The weird resentment has come about recently because ot the pain and guilt I am experiencing because his daughter left.  I am finding that I am angry at him for this, when it is in no way his fault or within his control. I am also angry because no one seems to be holding his daughter accountable for the pain she is causing to her Dad.   His family (mostly one of his 4 siblings and her husband and daughters are pretty close with his daughter so almost seem to side with her by their silence-- when there should be no sides).  They all seem to be more worried about his daughter's mental state and her being happy and not depressed than how my DH feels or how the rest of us who are rejected feel about her leaving. They definitely coddle girls in that family and whatever they want they get with zero accountability (this is why his ex blames him and our union for her situation-- they are the zero accountability types).  I think it would be different if she was at all a part of our lives, but she has dissappeared entirely.  She barely communicates with him-- maybe a few texts a month-- and she'll occaisonally come give him a hug if he goes to her soccer games, but that is it, he feels generally rejected by her.  I feel horrible-- 4 years of holidays and birthdays and time together and she is gone without so much as one text to me in months.  I was reluctant to entertain her in a text or social media conversation because I think that is how she prefers to have our relationship be maintained-- in cyber world only! :(  I only had boys so I kind of liked the idea of having a stepdaughter, but that is not going to happen apparently.

She wants to be with her labrador retriever, which I feels she cares more about than her own Dad, and her mother, who hates him so I really think she is a product of parental allienation.

The weird thing is that I am so mad inside at my DH because I am in this mess!  I didn't see it coming, we all got along fine, it wasn't until he and I got married-- the month prior coincided with her getting her period around those same months and *poof* she was gone.  Now I have to carry around this horrible guilt that my DH has lost one of his children because of his choice to be with me.  He is supposed to be close to his 4 siblings, but I feel like one of his sisters resents me because her neice chose to leave our household and now may not be as connected to their extended family as a result.  I ruined everything.  

All of a sudden, now that I'm married, I feel like even though my love for him hasn't changed, I feel blindsided by this new dysfunctional situation and now I'm turned off.  I know I shouldn't be, but I actually think I dislike his daughter so much for doing this to us that I am disliking him because he raised her and he can't fix it and she is his kid. None of this is his fault-- he has actually been an awesome Dad but perhaps they still blame him for leaving his ex?

Sage advice?


CLove's picture

All these emotions are pretty much normal in stepworld. Except in your case a bit backwards because most of the time the fathers place all blame squarely on the stepparents shoulders.

So what exactly do you think your husband should do? Chase her? Do a pick me dance? He should be not allowing his CHILD to make decisions on the custody visitation schedule. He should and must be very firm on that. A child doesnt understand the repercussions they only act on the here and now.

Maybe thats where you anger is coming from. Hes allowing this to happen (it sounds like from your post) and it is negatively affecting the ENTIRE family. Shes acting like an emotional terrorist. What is her reasoning for leaving? If there is no abuse charges, then encourage your husband to stick to 50/50 visitation. If he doesnt, then it will appear to all and her that he is abandoning her for his "new famly". AND this will affect things in the future.

NicoleRB's picture

Here's the problem-- my DH family is not a tough love suck it up type of "rules" given culture. The minute the mental health card gets thrown down (and my SD is manipulative with it I feel), they don't push. My DH isn't fighting for her-- his counselor has told him to give her all the space she wants and that is what is best that she will come to him someday. I lived with her for 4 years and I can tell you that no one has ever made this child do anything since the day she was born. His nuclear family of 4 would go home from the beach immediately if she was complaining about the sand-- BM would scoop her up and tell my DH her then husband that they had to go. She'd sleep with her mom in bed for years while my DH would have to go to the couch -- eventually they divorced so she really made it happen more than I ever did. I knew the family before and coached with my now DH and was not a close friend of his ex, but she would spend time telling everyone how her daughter was so hard to handle-- at that time I thought, well that's because you're not parenting her, you're trying to be her best friend and favorite person. Still the same now only my poor DH gets snowblowed-- you're right that's probably why I'm mad. If it was my son I'd say too bad you're living with me I'm your mom! 

GrudgingSM's picture

So you mentioned DH's family, but what about yours? Are there experiences there that make you feel responsible for the feelings of others? That make you fear being disliked? That created that strong sense of accountability in relationships? I'm not saying that's wrong, and you do seem to recognize that some of it seems misplaced, but yeah, you aren't responsible for his daughter needing space after you got married. Was that a triggering event? Probably. I was really hurt when my dad got remarried, and I even liked my stepmom (still do)! But that doesn't mean I did secretly cry about it even though I didn't have dreams about my parents getting back together. 

It's not your fault that she's hurt. It's also reasonable that she's hurt. And it's not her job to make her dad feel better. It's also true that hormones and teenager stuff REALLY changes kids. All of that is valid, and it's just hard, but no one is to blame. It doesn't have to mean it's PAS, and if you're this mad about her leaving the family, imagine how mad she is/has been about him leaving her/their family. But again it's NOT YOUR FAULT. You also can't fix it. This is their relationship, and they'll have to work it out or not. His family also can't force her to be a part of their lives. Relationships are reciprocal--either both/all parties put in the work or they don't. But your picture of family might have to evolve and change as his kids do. 

NicoleRB's picture

Ok I hear you but everyone's opinions vary widely (read the above post)-- you're saying she's justified and oh well it's no one's fault but I tend to gravitate towards the above post that under 18 means a child can't decide for herself and is choosing wrongly. I think we'd be okay with her living with her mom full time -- just not okay with her cutting off her dad for not staying married to her mother when it was not a happy marriage. Ultimately I know she's missing out on her Dad. And no, it's not my fault unless adults aren't able to make decisions about their own happiness the minute they give birth. I kind of think the victim thing is something that needs to be overcome for individuals to ever move forward. My sons are hurt about me divorcing their Dad but I think they are smart enough to  not hold resentment for it.

GrudgingSM's picture

Sure but you're not her mom and you can't make her feel a certain way about her dad even if you were. You can't change his family either. You can talk to your DH about insisting she comes back, but if you already resent her, That's unlikely to improve by doing that.

I don't disagree that parents are never allowed to make decisions about their happiness after giving birth. Of course not. But also it's not his daughters job to say "oh thank you for making a do-over family!" Because of course she won't feel that way either. You don't like the victim mentality but you're also seeing DH as the victim of his daughters choices. This is not going to he your hoped for picture perfect family. 

NicoleRB's picture

I think the "do over family" perspective is why we get these kids that never move on from the grief. It's not a do over, just because I divorced my husband because he and I grew apart and I found love again with someone that had kids doesn't mean I'm trying for a "do over"-- it means I am mature enough to get out of a bad situation and attempt to enjoy life. My DH's decision is the same. It is too bad that kids always see it as a rejection of the old family for the new. Sad.

GrudgingSM's picture

Believe it or not, I actually agree with you. I think adults shouldn't stay in marriages that aren't working. I think that if there's a way to model a healthy relationship--great! But yeah, that's hard on kids. It doesn't have to be catastrophic and they aren't bound to become lifelong victims, and at least from what you said about the boys, they're doing fine with it. But yeah, I think it's normal that your SD is hurt by it.

When I read your post I see that you feel guilty that your presence (though you did NOTHING wrong) has caused this rift between your partner and his daughter. You want to fix that guilt so you're trying to fix this relationship. And you can't. You really can't. This is between them. You can say "honey, you can't let her decide her own custody" but you cannot enforce their custody order for them. And even if the custody order IS enforced, that STILL doesn't fix their relationship. That's between them and that's work they need to do. My point from the beginning is to figure out why you feel responsible for other people's feelings because that legitimately IS something you can control and likely there are larger things at play there and it may cause other issues down the line as well. That also doesn't make you a bad person! I don't think anyone has to be the enemy here!  I personally think you need to say "honey, I am so sorry that she's pushing you away, and I want to do anything I can to help. If you want or need my help, please ask." You can be his partner and support, but it's his relationship and he needs to choose it. Otherwise he's got a problem being a sad, helpless victim himself, you know?

tog redux's picture

Sounds like parental alienation to me. In normal divorces, one parent doesn't allow the child to cut out the other parent because they know that's not a healthy response to ...what? The fact that he got married? And it sounds like her mother and your in-laws support this ridiculous arrangement where a young teen gets to decide she's done with one parent.  Do you feel your husband should do more?

NicoleRB's picture

Yes I do! But what about the mental health of the child? Everyone in his family leans in the direction that he is at fault for divorcing and breaking up the family and that she is justified in not liking her Dad because she's a teen girl but I think he is just letting them win. I agreed with the letting her go live with her mom mostly because she was ruining the household with her miserableness (alluding to the fact that she was the only girl like it was a play date!), but I didn't agree with her dropping off the planet. I used to go to all of her soccer & softball games and enjoy it and cheer and be supportive. Now I can't even go because I feel like the fact that my sons and I exist is now causing no relationship between my DH and his daughter. I just want to drop off the planet with her because I feel like it (my existence) is making it worse. I am going to tell my DH to offer to take she and her brother down to his family's xmas and not go myself or bring my sons. This is the first holiday with her out of the house and I just can't handle the guilt of my DH not seeing his kid on the holidays because she can't be around us.  I know that she is the problem, her internal struggle, her bad attitude, her BM's alienation. I think part of my anger at DH is that I didn't think his ex was this unintelligent that  she would find satisfaction in "well that'll teach him for divorcing me" at the price of her daughter's life and relationship with her Dad being ruined, but I guess we are dealing with Jerry Springer mentality here. 

tog redux's picture

Of course she has a right to feel upset about the changes in her family. But SD punishing your DH for getting married again is not a healthy response to the situation. Stuff happens and resilient people learn to deal with it. Parental alienation is about the parent doing the alienating, not about the child. In a healthy situation, her mom and grandparents would not give a child so much power.

That being said, we experienced alienation, too, so I know that not only is court action useless, it would likely ramp up the alienation and make it worse. My SS21 was alienated at 15 and DH's attorney advised the same - drop court action and let SS come to you. He did come back, at 18, but he's not someone we want to be around. 

Please don't believe any talk about how this is justified and to be expected. None of the people saying that would feel that way if they were the ones on the receiving end of her behavior. And you aren't the cause of any of this - BM is, with SD as her proxy. Your DH has a role too, in that he has not set limits on his daughter.  

GrudgingSM's picture

It's also not her job to fix it. This is DH's kid and his job to fix. She's referred to it as who "wins" in other comments but family is not a game. If the kid's therapist says don't push, I don't know why she should talk her husband into actions he doesn't want to take. I agree that resilient people find a way to deal, but the kid is also clearly not resilient, and seeing how coddling the family is and weak the DH is, it seems unwise for the OP to make this her hill to die on when it's a hill that's not even on her land.

NicoleRB's picture

I agree more w you on this than the folks that side with the child. It is amazing how there are literally two schools of thought on accountability around divorce, remarriage and seems to victimize the children of the situation and vilify the adults and therefore relinquish any action of the child as acceptable.  The other seems to hold kids accountable for their behavior and not give them all the power over adults just because their childhood is being affected. 

I think you nailed it with "resilient people" move forward-- I think SD is not resilient and therefore is making a mistake in not forgiving her father enough to at least see him more regularly.  She will pay the price in the end in that she loses out on a great Dad. :( 

GrudgingSM's picture

If he's not willing to work for a relationship with his daughter, he's not a good dad. Neither one of them is the victim here. They're two hurt people who need to work on their sh*t.

JRI's picture

I have almost 50 years in my stepfamily.  All family relationships evolve but it is more apparent in a stepfamily where some of the relations are not biological.  You had a mental picture of your blended family but SD's departure has changed that.  I've had trouble, too, adjusting to some of our changes.

I agree that your marriage was a triggering event for SD.  My SD, then 12, acted out, too, when we got married although we had already lived together 2 years with SK visitation the whole time.  As I recall, that was her first runaway.

I hope you can take this change in stride.  Your DH should maintain his 50% custody arrangements as much as possible.  Although you have included her in your lives for 4 years, I wouldn't expect much thanks or appreciation, it seldom happens in stepworld.  It would only set you up for disappointment.

I guess Im saying this is normal, imo.  My SD wanted to live with BM, too.  The one thing I would caution about is letting SD ping pong between homes.  We let SD do this ("BM is so mean").  I now realize SD used this tactic to avoid consequences when a parent tried to discipline.  Good luck.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

"The one thing I would caution about is letting SD ping pong between homes. "

Good advice, here. I think he should fight to keep 50/50, but if she is adamant and he loses, do not allow her to bounce back when she and BM aren't getting along. You will have an ill-behaved monster who thinks she runs things!

CLove's picture

Like SD22 Feral forger - who has already 3 times begged to move back in with us, and been told "no".

Peviously when she was under 18 and still doing the visitation, when things didnt work out at one house, shed pack up and scoot over to the other house and nothing would be resolved. No coping skills developed.

JRI's picture

Youre right, Clove, these kids dont develop coping skills.  They also fail to learn that treating people poorly has consequences.  These kids go into later life and wonder why they have problems with SOs, bosses, landlords, roommates, the police and anybody in authority.


NicoleRB's picture

I will definitely not let the ping back and forth happen and it wouldn't anyway-- she clearly hated it at our house (we have literally a few teen rules at most-- go up to bed by 10:30pm and start to wind down and we make decisions by coming to consensus not by one person calling the shots (aka her old family dynamic), so I think it is a culture "I don't want to be there" as well. Her BM is the "well if it's raining you don't have to go to school if your tummy is queasy" type-- I'm not, I'm more of a, you're good honey, you can take a TUMS and see how you feel once you're showered" type of parent. These are huge differences. 

CLove's picture

I noticed that you are also angry at your DH for his bad choices in partner to breed with. Sorry if that is crass - spend enough time here and youll get used to it!

But I too, have many times (to my parents and him as well) bemoaned DH's choice. He excuses it time and again by saying things like, "well I was an addict at 25, and she and I got clean together. Then we built a life together and she wasnt as bad as she is now, shes much much worse. Then she got pregnant and we didnt think she could get pregnant (she got preggers multiple times and 2 took), and I stayed 14 years for the kids (together 20)"

But read my blogs to get the "full flavor" of Toxic Troll. Borders on the ridiculous. And thats who DH chose to breed with and thats what is affecting my life today. So I get mad at that. I totally understand. Because he chose to breed with Toxic Troll, we have an SD22 Feral Forger to deal with. And now SD15 Backstabber. They are both much like her, except SD15 can be a nice kind sweet Munchkin, when everything is in its calmer state.

BUT guess what - I stand by the fact that YOU must not resort to hiding in the background, keeping yourself away from family functions because Mini-wife (look that up its what you described). DH MUST stand strong and enforce the visitation no matter how miserable she acts. Those two things are very strong points. 

Mere suggestion wont help you when its 5-10 years down the road and SD accuses DH of "abandoning her". And Mini-wife SD continues to cut him out of her life. And then has children and uses them as little hostages to control and manipulate. And DH feels guilty so that works, and then he blames YOU and YOUR kiddos.

So - get therapy, to resolve your feelings. Post here as much as you need.

NicoleRB's picture

I really do fear that what many of you have said about him not enforcing custody rules will make SD and BM view it as DH abandoning her and choosing us. They have always twisted everything this honestly wonderful man has ever done for them as negative. Basically he can do no right. Sometimes I think he prefers to not reconcile because he knows SD is really difficult to raise and she would probably make our lives much harder, but it is his child so it surprises me. I guess when you've always been the bad guy (he was with SD when he was married to her mom), then you start to actually not want the person around for your own mental health. Think he may be at that point. I think that is why I was ok with her living with BM, it is the cutting him off entirely that I'm resentful for...I think she is being incredibly mean and trying to pay her Dad back for leaving her Mom because she can't fathom how anyone could ever leave her wonderful BM. SD doesn't see that perhaps BM always siding w her instead of having a normal loving relationship with her husband (you can't sleep in our marital bed because my 4 year old daughter sleeps with me) actually ended the marriage not him choosing to leave her-- him choosing to have a real marriage.