Struggling with my teenage stepdaughter
I’m a stepmum to a 17 year old girl and a 15 year old boy. I’ve been with their dad for 12 years and we’ve always had the kids every other weekend and over the holidays. We were doing really well and were really happy (despite the occasional fallout with his ex-wife)and are planning on getting married this year.
Last year, my stepdaughter moved in with us full time after falling out with her mum. She’s been struggling with anxiety and depression for a while and seems to be try to deal with this by restricting her eating. We try to speak with her about it and have been taking her to CAMHS but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. It’s hard to know how much of this is normal teenage hormones and she’s obviously had to deal with a lot of change/stress so it’s understandable that she’s struggling.
But she doesn’t seem to want help. She seems to want to have the label of a mental illness but not want to deal with it. She just seems to want to use as it as excuse not to do anything. She’s had 2 referrals to specialists but is determined that they won’t be able to help her because she’s different and nobody could possibly understand so won’t actually go/engage with the support offered. She has now dropped out of 2 colleges and basically spends most of time lying in bed talking to her mates on the phone. She seems to have no trouble finding motivation to go out with her mates but can’t find the energy to tidy up after herself, study or do anything productive. Every time I try and help or speak to her, we end up arguing or falling out.
I am really struggling to cope. I have also struggled with anxiety and depression for a few years and am really failing to respond appropriately and constructively to her behaviour. I want to help her but I just don’t know how. I just get so frustrated and upset and I just don’t know what to do any more. I’m starting to feel like I actually hate her and resent her being in the house. I no longer feel like it’s my home and I don’t feel like I have any space or control any more. My life and my home are no longer happy like they were and I just don’t know what to do. I feel like my life is falling apart and I am struggling to find any happiness any more.
My partner is also frustrated but thankfully not as emotional as we are. He’s not convinced this is any more than teenage hormones and thinks she’s hiding behind the label as an excuse. He’s better at dealing with her than me though as he manages not to lose the plot. But he seems to try to avoid the issue and just pretend there’s nothing wrong.
It's got to the point where she and I barely speak to each other and we’re not comfortable being in the same room as each other. It feels like one of us needs to move out because we're clearly making each other worse and neither of us are happy. I love her dad very much. But I’m not sure I can cope with his daughter for much longer. It’s absolutely breaking me.