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I am a teenage stepchild. Just reaching out to hear from other step moms.

Guava2018's picture

Hi, I am a 16 year old step child. My parents divorced whenever I was 9 years old and my mother was abusive and an alcoholic. I know many children are harsh and unaccepting and try to bring the previous mom back into the picture, but I do not and did not ever want my dad and her to re-marry. I knew they had deep issues and did not need to be together.

My dad found his new wife and not too long after came back into the picture when I was almost 11. Everything seemed fine for awhile. I was a shy and awkward kid and didn't understand how to socialize with other kids. Because she was a little snappy and I was always just a bit awkward and clumsy I guess we just didn't hit it off.

Today we are still having issues. Very soon after she met me she began calling me manipulative. I have asked her why she feels that way and she said it all goes back to when I was 11 and I used to hide homework in my bag and say it was done because I didn't know how to do it and my teacher said I was sneaky. I'll admit I procrastinated and still have some issues today with it. She also distanced herself from me she said when I was 11 and she told me to wash up my dish and she swears that she saw me do a Nana Nana boo boo face at her in the window. Since then she hasn't been able to open up to me she said. I was also raised by a scorpio which she correlates with me being manipulative.

I get that term thrown around very generously. I have tried and still try to be nice to her even when I'm angry out of sheer morals. If I wash the dishes and there is a cup left out she thinks I did it on purpose. If I leave a drop of something on the counter and I say I seriously do not remember doing that she thinks I'm lying. I clean it up anyway but everything I say in defense of myself is assumed as a lie. My dad even didn't fill ice trays and blamed it on me and she didn't believe me for months when I said it wasn't me.

I tried to talk to her and get along and even tried calling her mom which she completely denied. And I understand you can't force emotions on people but my point is I didn't and don't hate her and I was TRYING. At this point I don't try any longer. I stay in my room and leave them alone but when I do leave my room it usually results in an argument.

Most of our arguments result from me getting angry when she snaps. She has very rapid anger that can snap on you in an instant and I am a person who likes my personal space and bubble and I feel like she tries to dig into me and is convinced I'm out to get her.

I get angry when we are driving usually because she gets rude under pressure. Very rude. I have been called an idiot before, retarded, she has said fuck you to me and just makes harsh comments even when she is joking about them I take offense sometimes. She casually called me a wimp and laughed while I was reaching for something in the backseat. I get upset and say something about it and how it makes me feel and that it's okay but at the very least can she please just apologize after a burst of anger? She normally tells me to get over it and that I want justice for everything and I'm not going to get one.

I tell my dad about the things she says and she says I am being manipulative by talking to him about her. My dad usually tells me she is the only thing I have for a mother so I should be thankful she buys me food and takes me to school.

She says everyone is a little manipulative and it's survival sometimes but she never points out anyone else's manipulation except for mine and has a negative tone when she does.

Another thing she does that annoys me and makes us clash is that I feel like she feels the need to be an expert on everything. She said she knows everything about me and how I manipulate and what I'm thinking and all about my mom.

They wanted me to live here but then she told me she didn't expect me to come living here and that it was very sudden and I was dropped off here and she just met a wonderful man and now knew that I was going to be in the way. They have already talked before about how he could move from this house once I was gone and could be together and I'm the only reason he's stuck here. I keep to myself usually and I literally will tell then to go on date nights if they want to and leave me home alone.

It was just a quick switch. My mom and I had a great bond and I was home schooled so I was overly attached to her and never left her side and even slept in her bed for years and we would watch movies together then I was suddenly cut off and had to leave her because she became abusive to me. My dad promised she would love me and be the mom I needed and I guess I had unrealistic expectations but it's a lot. I never really spend time with her or get hugged and it was just a jump in cold water.

I really begin doubting myself and start wondering if I'm manipulative and I even came up to her and said I'm sorry if I manipulate maybe I do it subconciously but I don't mean to hurt anyone. She thinks I try to purposefully make her angry or mess with my dad. I'm just emotional and my parents both are snappy and I hold onto things for a long period of time and just want an apology. And maybe it is manipulative to try and force an apology but I've been trying to not expect one.

Harry's picture

Maybe you should see someone. Someone to talk to, see how your behaved. You really can’t get advices on the internet,
You are most likely so what wrong and SM is some what wrong. You should work with someone to try to mend your relationship to a point where you can get along. If SM dose the want to mend the relationship at least you know you did your part
Best of luck

still learning's picture

You can't change her, she can't change you. You're two females who need your own space. So do the best you can in school, get scholarships then go to a far away college immediately after you graduate. Keep your eyes on the prize.

tigerlily74's picture


Evil3's picture

"When I grow up, I want to be a Second Wife," said no-one ever."

OMG!!!! I just sprayed my tea!! LMAO!!!!!

tigerlily74's picture

Dear girl, I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's just awful that your biological mom turned abusive and you were cut off from her when you were.

It does sound like your stepmom is biased against you and it's probably never going to change. There are two sides to this story and I'd be interested to hear where she's coming from. But no one should EVER call you an "idiot", "retarded" or say "fuck you" to you. Does she do this behind your father's back? I certainly hope he's NOT allowing this to happen in front of him.

Do try to find someone who can counsel you - is there a counsellor in your school? Or a really good and sensible friend to confide in - although your peers might not be trained to help you to deal with things. Try to find a counsellor - even if it's an online one by emailing with one of us here.

Chin up and stay strong.

MurphysLaw's picture

Sorry to hear about your troubles, welcome to life. That may sound “mean” but believe me there are young people such as yourself (and younger) going through worse, and that’s just life.
Might I suggest you look for a job (if you don’t have one), getting a drivers license (if you don’t have one), look into what your school/ area offers in the way of a vocational school training, and be prepared to move out once you turn 18 or the day you graduate high school, which ever comes later.
Prepare yourself! Start today! Two years sounds like a long time but it will be here before you know it, and it doesn’t sound like your SM is going to allow you to stay at her & your fathers home once you’re 18 & Out of high school. Learn to take care of yourself kid, ain’t nobody else gonna.
Take care and I hope all will work out for you.

ESMOD's picture

Well, the good thing is that in a couple of years you will be 18 and can choose where you live and who you spend your time with. I don't mean that in a mean have a timeline to a time when you will have more control. Use the next couple of years to use that as a motivator to ensure you are prepared to leave home when that time comes.

It's got to be hard with your mother's abuse and the situation at your new place. I do find that I see the word "manipulative" tossed around a lot here with pretty young kids and in some ways I see it as the adults trying to make some "sense" out of what the kids are doing... and attaching adult motivations to those actions. In reality, there may be some kids that are manipulative, but I think as many cases may be adults projecting their own bias instead.

Right now, it sounds like the best thing you can do is try to "do your best". It may not always work, but in the end, you will be able to move out and go to college or to work. Then you can choose to relate to people on your terms.

Again, use the next couple of years to get that stuff lined up. If you don't get the support at home to prepare yourself, seek out a counselor at school or perhaps the parent of a friend that you trust and admire.

beebeel's picture

My 1.5 year old is quite good at crying in an effort to get his way (i.e. manipulation). He noticed it works sometimes and he will keep doing it until I can teach him more words. Humans learn to manipulate before they learn to talk. A 16 year has mastered manipulation and will continue to use it if it has been effective at getting what she wants. Manipulation is certainly not an adult action that kids are incapable of using. Hopefully, by the time one becomes an adult, they have learned enough words and communication skills that they won't need or want to manipulate others.

ESMOD's picture

The motivation and mental forethought in a child's manipulation I think is different than when used by adults. Children will do the "fake cry" to get what they want when their capacity to communicate and ability to apply patience and self control are much lower.

The "evil intent" that someone as an adult may employ with manipulating isn't nearly the same thing.

Like a kid who hides homework. The intent isn't to "get over" on the's to avoid doing something that may be really difficult or uncomfortable for the child. It's not because they hate their step-parent and are trying to make their life hell.

I'm not saying that kids can't manipulate or that it isn't sometimes motivated by "meanness"... but I think that adults with issues often project their own feelings onto the actions of the child.

beebeel's picture

Sure. A toddler also doesn't have evil intent when she hits or bites, but it is behavior that still needs to be corrected by the parents or it becomes habit. It is the same with manipulation tactics.

SacrificialLamb's picture

When I was 6, my home life was so crappy that at the end of the first grade, I remember thinking "11 years to go." And I continued that count down every year.

You have just 2 years to go. If you're just holding out for an apology as you state, you are not using your time wisely. Don't get stuck in the mind trap of the deserted young daughter because SM does not like me. Get the best grades you can in school. Take career aptitude tests to see what you would be good at doing. I am sure your school office probably has counselors or other info who could help you. Figure out how you are going to make a living, at least in the beginning of your young adult life.

Everyone's adult life is not always to our liking either, but we are adults and expected to suck it up and deal with it. This will be you in two years. Make the best of it and good luck.

sammigirl's picture

Guava2018: I had two SM's in my lifetime. I relate to what you are saying. I am now a SM myself. My Skids were grown when I met my DH, but YSS still lived with us. I always tried to remember how my SM's treated me, when dealing with my Skids. It was very difficult for my grown SD to accept her Dad loving me. I did not have any part of my DH's divorce, but SD always labeled me as "the other woman". My SD just didn't want her Dad to love a "stranger". We have been married 38 years and my SD57 still cannot accept me, and she makes no secret of it.

It takes a strong teen to get thru it all. Your emotions are very high as a teen and life is not fair at this point (you are thinking). As a teen, I developed my own life. I had many interest, only because I forced myself to move forward. I was very busy in school, sports, etc. I held down a parttime job. I lived with my BM, but she was not close to me, and very critical of me. I didn't visit my Dad, because my SM's didn't allow me around. So I also felt very alone.

With all of this said, I made my share of mistakes when I was young, with no direction; but I learned from my mistakes and worked hard at bettering myself. I did lots of chores around the house and stayed very busy with friends. Soon I was graduated from HS and moved forward. Please visit with a school counselor. I did not have that available to me; but I had friends that did well.

I hope you will not waste time with the fighting and drama. Live by the house rules. Silence is golden, when you cannot get along with a person you are living with. Your SM will not be the only person in your life that you cannot mesh with; thus you will encounter people that are difficult. You will learn to handle it and you sound like you are smart enough to figure this out.

Good Luck.

Thumper's picture

There are two kinds of people. Doesn't matter if they are parents, co-workers, step parents or your neighbor. Kids can fall into that also

Nice and not so nice.

It is very sad that it appears your sm falls under the NOT so nice list.

PLEASE realize not all sm's are ugly. Many of us are/where quit the opposite.

Guava2018's picture

It really does not do me any good wasting my energy. And I know I should get stronger in myself and not rely on others approval. I will keep trying to be strong. And like a lot of you guys said I don't have much time left until I can leave if I want to.

Rags's picture

First... forget the apology. That is very likely never going to happen.

I will go with a similar message with you that I tend to go with in most STalk situations. Focus on the behaviors, yours, your Dad's and your SM's. And address those behaviors. Your behaviors you have absolute control over so .... make the changes that you need to make to positively impact the relationship you have with your Dad and your SM.

As for the behaviors from your SM... start addressing those with immediate and direct questions and conversations. Be respectful, but do not tolerate her juvenile crap without confronting it each and every time it happens. I suggest that you adopt something along the lines of this sentence. "I know that there are some things in the past that bother you. We can't change the past so I am going to focus on the now and the future so if you want some say in how now and the future pan out I want to hear your thoughts." Any time she goes backwards in the discussion reset her to discussing the now. You have to do the same.

As far as your Dad's behaviors..... try to separate that discussion from your relationship with your SM. You are his daughter but she is his wife. In a few short years you will launch and she is the one he has chosen to make the rest of his life's journey with. That does not mean that you will not be a key part of his life and he a key part of yours but it serves to set the framework of your relationship with your Dad for the now and for the future. Ask him how you can help him in the current blended family dynamic then outline how he can help you. Remember, all you want is for him to be happy and to be your dad. His being happy obviously includes your influence on his marriage so keep that in mind.

You can't fix her or him. But you can fix yow you choose to behave and how you interface with them.

Good luck.

BTW: I am a StepDad.

Iamwoman's picture

Hey Guava, ok, first of all, NOBODY but God knows EVERYTHING about you.
The fact that your SM said that shows just how insecure she is. She is saying that because for some reason she feels powerless around you. I think it is very possible that you are way more intelligent than she is, and she knows this but will never tell you. Her insecurity over your superior intelligence is probably also what inspires her to call you names and use vulgar language around you.

Her behavior and choice of words are completely unacceptable. If my daughter's SM ever talked to her the way yours does, I would slam every legal measure against her that I could conjure up, as well as make her life a living hell by possibly signing her up for unwanted sorts of subscriptions and the like... haha. NO teenage girl deserves to be treated that way. YOU are at a time in your life when you are the MOST vulnerable. Being a teen girl is hard enough - hormones, grades, college apps, boys, disgusting pedophile grown men checking you out and then pretending they didn't know how young you are (they know), and the scary fact that you are getting ready to venture out into the world and are expected to make something successful of yourself - this is all REALLY stressful! How dare she make it even MORE stressful for you!

You should really spend as much time in after school activities and around friends as possible. My parents were never divorced, but my brother and sister had an evil streak and made their lives a living hell, so I stayed after school for a sport in every season, theater rehearsals, club activities, you name it - I was a member. Often I was at school until 11pm at night! I never had to go home except to sleep! Once my parents forgot to pick me up from a rehearsal and I slept on the church steps across the street from my high school until my mother finally showed up at 1am and yelled at me for some reason (idk why, it never did make sense - we didn't have cell phones back then).

So, part of my point is that I was socially awkward and shy too, but when you're part of a team, club, or group, you don't have to be an extrovert because you are all focused on the activity at hand instead of "talking" with each other.

Your SM is making is very clear that she doesn't want to be a mother to you. Perhaps your mom will get better some day and not be an alcholic anymore? You still have a mom, and maybe someday your real mom WILL apologize to you (I think that is what you are after anyway Smile

Evil3's picture

I grew up with two crazy parents who said ugly things to me too. The things your SM says to you are abusive, but with you being 16, you can do what I did to make it until 18, finish HS without getting removed and placed in foster care. I did what Iamwoman did and signed up for music lessons, grass hockey, etc. I got a job and studied at the library. The library was a good excuse, because back in the caveman days (I'm 52) we didn't have internet and we needed to research the encyclopedias at the library. I made sure to have supportive friends and I had no qualms at all about dumping those who were jerks to me. You can actually swing it so that you're barely home.

Another tactic is seeing your SM as a wounded child. No, it does not excuse what she says to you, but hurt people hurt people. It really helped me accept that people act the way they do due to their own issues rather than due to something I've done. I was really bad at blaming myself.

On the other hand, you are old enough to take personal accountability and ask yourself if you really do manipulate. You can accept it or not. Consider if there is truth to what your SM says or if she's totally full of it. It's likely a case of her being extreme and that you probably manipulate at times.

You can be the hero in making things better. You obviously care or you wouldn't have come here and laid it all out to a bunch of SMs (and Rags, a SF). That takes guts. If you have such courage, you can go to your SM and say that you are working on yourself and when she says that you're manipulating, ask what are the instances. Claim that you are confused. There's a way of wording it and using a tone that is non-threatening. If she really is a b*tch, then you risk getting blasted by her, but you also might move to a whole new level of relationship with her. If you get blasted, then you at least know that you did the grown-up thing and you're the one that took positive action to find out. Give yourself credit for that, so that if you do get roasted by your SM, you can take comfort in your role. As a SM, I would love it if my SD28 ever did that with me and I would totally embrace her, so I think it's safe to assume that your SM wants you to like her or even love her.

A common complaint on here from SMs is Mini-Wife Syndrome. You said you slept with your mum and got coddled and was too attached to her. As a SM of a mini-wife, I can't even describe how soul-destroying it is to live with my SD who constantly diverted my DH onto her, because of her excessive clinginess. Maybe ask yourself if you're doing that with your dad to gain back the enmeshment you had with your mum. I'm not saying you're doing that, but given the "closeness" you had with your mum, I'm just saying it might be something to consider. If you are "too close" to your Dad, I recommend sitting down with your SM present and telling both of them that you would like some help in learning how to be more independent. Find a good quality about your SM, if you can and tell her you want that and ask her to teach it to you. Trust me, she'll eat it up and you might end up in a great relationship. You have to be genuine though or she'll know you're being phoney. Is there something about her like being strong willed or something that you can pick? My SD28 and I have had MAJOR issues and yet when she said she handled something in a way that she learned from me, I literally burst into tears. Keep in mind that SMs want the same acceptance and approval from our SDs that they want from us. I hope this helps. Come back here and keep us updated. Good luck!

amyburemt's picture

I found your story very well written and I am sorry you have not had a positive experience. First, as you get older you realize that you cannot change other people. I think it's wierd that she is holding on to things that in the world of step parenting are so minor. maybe you, dad and stepmom need to sit down and figure out a different path. In arguments, the end goal should always be figuring out a solution. It may be a solution that not every person agrees on 100 percent, but all 3 of you will have worked towards a do-able solution. and sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Another avenue you could all try is to do just some fun bonding. A short trip or something fun during the day. It sounds like you haven't really had a bonding experience at all. Someone who is outside of the situation may be able to give you some of the tools you need for dealing with this, like school counselor or something like that. Above all, be the person that you wish other people would be to you.