The losing battle. Advice please!
Hello steptalk community, I have been lurking on this site for years and feeling so validated by similar experiences. A little background on my family: I have been married to my DH for one year, together for five. I have four bio kids (6-18) and one SD (21). When my DH and I first started dating SD was 16 and she was placed on the highest of pedestals. She did not react well to having a woman in her fathers life and she punished him for it. Skipping his parenting time, throwing hissy fits if we ate somewhere she liked without her and constant emotional manipulation. At this point I tried very hard to gain her friendship and went out of my way to buy her things, text her and do small favors for her. I kept my mouth shut during all of this behavior for two years and let him handle it.
Everything changed when we moved in together, almost immediately. It was like she all of a sudden felt ownership in our new home and escalated her behavior. My husband of course never stood up to her or held her accountable for her behavior. One night I finally snapped and told her her behavior was unacceptable and she was going to stop treating her father with such disrespect. She turned on me and cried to her father that he always puts me first and she expected that on days she is there that he prioritize her instead of me. She called me names and I told her she needed to apologize before returning. We didn't hear from her for a year besides random texts to her father telling him I was a crappy person and he was a crappy father. This broke his heart and he obsessed over it. We went to couples counseling and worked through some of it, established new boundaries and he was taught about guilty father syndrome and how unhealthy their enmeshed relationship was.
After that year he began counseling with her alone. She refused to go if I would be there. So they did it together and made some progress. We slowly have reintegrated the family and she is now an independent adult and a little more mature. We are friendly on a very surface level now and we see her every few months and I am happy with that amount.
She will still randomly flip out on him and accuse him of being a horrible father but I don't stay quiet anymore and point out the manipulation directly to her. He doesn't see it unless I point it out and he would rather beg her forgiveness and sweep it under the rug. His default is to ignore her shitty behavior. What bothers me the most is that my kids are called out by him if they even look sideways at us! Anytime there is an issue with her or I bring up something it turns into a huge fight and it is always my problem, I'm never happy, bla bla bla. Whenever she is around, it has to be all about her. My other kids are ignored even if it is their birthday celebration and she has to be the center of attention. Always taking about memories of her and her dad before I was around (why do they do this???). He is sad when she leaves and I am always relieved because I don't feel comfortable around her.
On to the current issue....we just found out she is moving down the street from us next week. I feel sick about it! I know he will become obsessed with seeing her as often as possible and want her over constantly. He is ecstatic she is moving so close. I feel like this may unravel our marriage.
I don't know how to express how I feel or what should be reasonable boundaries and expectations anymore. I always feel guilty for my feelings....this is his child after all. He has said many times "my child will always be welcome in my home". And I get that, I do!! But I'm filled with resentment. I've been in individual counseling as well for this and my counselor has also validated my feelings. Please help. What is reasonable?? How do I get past this?