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Is anyone else intimidated by SD?

sadiefrost's picture

I am an anxious person. If I am talking to someone and I notice them being bored/distracted in anyway, I clam up. I can't open myself up easily to people who I think don't want to hear what I have to say. It feels painful.

Now I manage this ok in my adult life, I let the other person do much of the talking as I know they don't want to hear what I have to say, they are on of those people that talk "at me' rather with with me. That's fine. It just means I cannot be myself around them for fear of rejection.

The problem with this is I have had this happen with SD13 time and time again. If I asked her anything it will be responded to out of politeness, sometimes she acts like she doesn't hear me. As a result, I am literally scared to talk to her because one bitten twice shy. I don't want to be rejected time and time again, yet I don't know how else to have a relationship with her. As a result, I pretty much am in fear around her...I get frozen in panic.

I'm a grown woman and scared of a 13 year old. I know. Ridiculous.

sadiefrost's picture

Also, its things like I'd suggested a game to her that I knew she'd like was available on her phone. I said have a look at it on my phone, you liked the first one. She didn't move, simply said "I don't like those games any more". 2 weeks later she has bought said game. She doesn't want anything from me.

sadiefrost's picture

I know. But this means that I am excluded. I am between a rock and a hard place. If I talk to her she rejects me, if I don't I am excluded.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Agree with others. I was in a similar situation with my SD when she was that age. I figured she was just a moody teen and would grow out of it. Never happened. Now she is a rude, surly adult about to get married.

You are getting sound advice to ignore her. While you may consider this being "excluded", it really isn't. Look at it as self-protection; you are defending yourself from rude obnoxious behavior. Disengage from her.

Not sure where your man is in this scenario, but if he's actively ignoring this behavior of hers, then he's as much to blame. He should not be allowing her to treat you with disrespect.

Thus, when the nasty little narcissist comes to visit, find other things to do. Even if it means going out and sitting in a coffee shop somewhere for a couple of hours, do it. Let him entertain his darling daughter - and leave you out of the equation. You'll be much better off than letting her make you feel like a zero.

sadiefrost's picture

Yep, that is what I had been doing really. Just ignoring her and speaking to her brother instead. However, when she is round now, I now feel like I don't know my place. She comes in I say hi, she'll say hi back and thats it. She'll sit on the sofa opposite me and my OH will be playing the computer with his son. It find it so awkward and uncomfortable not being able to talk to her. So I sometimes try to speak to her and still feel the same from her - that she's replying out of politeness...doesn't really want to talk to me. However, this could be me by hypersensitive to it, maybe she's just acting normal now...I'm being so ultraware of her behaviour that perhaps I am seeing rejection when it's not there.

The other day she was round on her own without her brother and I felt even worse, then I was excluded from this family unit. I have no kids of my it feels like I am alone when she is round, as her relationship with her Dad is what the day is about.

I have disengaged before, sat on my laptop working, but my OH says I am being rude then. I feel protected when I am working - I have a role and something to do. If I wasn't doing that I'd feel left out.

I should say as well, I am quite a needy person. Having had a terrible childhood, I now fear abandonment, So when he is with her and tending to her needs, I feel emotionally abandoned. I am aware that is something else I have to deal with.

CANYOUHELP's picture

It is sad when you have to live with this dynamic; nothing you did and nothing you can do to change it. The best thing I did (and it took me far too long); was accept it.

Granny is right, time for her to become invisible to you now; got the name--you have the game; she made the rules.

Quit trying, that horse is dead.

sadiefrost's picture

Well the one saving grace is that I only see her once a week!

So you did the same thing. Accepted she wanted nothing to do with you and just ignored her? How did you feel when she was with your OH then and you were in the room?

Acratopotes's picture

I've been there and the way you feel has nothing to do with the SD, you do it to yourself Hon, Go to therapy and learn how to deal with this.... SD is manipulating you, she knows what she's doing is wrong and she knows it upsets you..

My dear Aergia tried it for years, she only succeeded a month or so, then I simply disengaged from her, SO has her 24/7, I will go on with life, either SO joins me and leave his brat alone for an hour... or I do it on my own.
We reached a stage where I did not see SO for a month and he got upset... I said, well you are always with Aergia, we never spend time together, why should I sit at home waiting like an idiot... I'm done... I will do what I want when I want, either you make time for me or not...

Aergia still tries getting SO all to herself, but he's not allowing it anymore, cause he only realized recently that relationships is work, if you neglect a partner you will end up alone, I have no problem entertaining myself.

Rags's picture

It may be over simplistic for me to suggest this... however.... if you know how you feel in conversation situations that make you uncomfortable and this happens over and over again.... try something different. Instead of not participating and just being present and feeling bad ... SPEAK!!!!! Part of being heard is speaking in a manner that ensures that you are neither misunderstood, misquoted, or ignored. This also goes a long way towards insuring that you are not excluded.

As for rejection..... do not accept it. Make it too painful for SD to consider rejecting you and she likely won't. She had a choice, engage pleasantly or you will engage in a less than pleasant manner. She will learn. Just do not stop delivering the message.

When the SKid ignores you .... call her out on it. Do not allow her to ignore you. I am not sure what the problem is with her responding to you out of politeness. Politeness is good thing and would be a hugely positive behavior out of a Skid for most people.

MrsZipper's picture

"Make it too painful for SD to consider rejecting you and she likely won't."

What do you mean?

Rags's picture

When she perpetrates inappropriate behavior she lives consequences. Outline acceptable behaviors for her and if she violates those behavioral standards then apply very unpleasant consequences.

Be consistent.

The consequences should be tailored to experiences with what gets her attention.

Disneyfan's picture

She isn't being rude or disrespectful. She responds to the OP in a polite manner. The OP wants her to be friendly, but the kid just isn't interested.

You can't force someone to like you or WANT to engage with you.

sadiefrost's picture

I mean she will responses "yes it was nice thank you". Or "I did thanks". As in she does not want to converse with me so she cuts the conversation off with the minimal reply possible. This isn't something I can really pull her up for. It's as if she's enduring me speaking to her rather than engaging. My family have said the same - that she is really closed off with them. I think she has just decided to give non of herself to me or my family. This is why she said she didn't like those kind of games any more, as saying she did would mean that she would have to be interested in something I had said and show enthusiasm. She'd rather keep contact with me to a minimum.

Rags's picture

She is being polite. That is a good thing. My Skid was not much of a talker when he was in his teens. We basically did not tolerate non engagement or non response. When he played those cards we went into pulling teeth mode and just kept grilling him until we had pushed a reasonable conversation.

Now... the kid still is not much of a talker but he is the one who calls us more frequently than we call him. In fact he requested that we have weekly calls on Sunday. His mom and I have lived internationally for the last 6 years and he will be moving internationally in the middle of the year. Growing up my family remained very close even when we were not all together. My brother and I were raised internationally and when I went off to school when I was 15 then university and my brother then went off to school and mom and dad were still international we remained close. Now with mom and dad retired and in their 70s both my wife and I and my brother and his wife (and their youngest) are international while the three eldest grand kids are either in the service or college we are all very close.

If you and DH work together on this and engage with the Skid you have every opportunity to grow close and create a closeness that can last a lifetime.

Good luck.

peacemaker's picture

You need to invest in yourself. Being secure in your own identity outside of the family dynamic is so important. It sounds like you are putting your whole self on the line when it comes to the acceptance of sd...Do not give her that much power in your relationship. A relationship is made up of two people MUTUALLY agreeing that they want one...If she doesn't want one...then respect that. Be your terrific self in spite of her 13 year old opinion. Do not base your personhood on the opinion of an underdeveloped 13 year old. But at the same time, in her own right she does get to choose. It's her loss.....

If you are a deep thinker, like myself...I was astonished that more than 90% of the rest of the population could care less about the deeper things in life... Then I learned something so powerful, it changed my perspective forever when it comes to dealing with other people....

Some people really do just show up for the food
Some people show up because being popular is what drives them
Some people get are driven by having or doing the latest greatest new thing to impress others
Some people would rather be working with their hands and aren't that into other people
and some people like me love to dwell on the deeper things in life (the things that the other people groups could care less about)...and really were not interested in going to the party to begin with....

Once you find out what drives a person...your insight can transform how you respond to them...

Taking an interpersonal communications class at your local community college will help tremendously...peace.

peacemaker's picture

You have to realize that your 13 year old sd is in a relationship of circumstance with you. She is torn between loyalty to her bm and the influence that is effecting her on that side of the fence. A lot of bm's manipulate their children emotionally with negative feedback or behaviors if the child dares embrace the stepmom. It's unfortunate, but reality is...she is already excluding you covertly. She is being as politically correct as she can about this situation by tolerating your presence. Her main objective is to see her father.

You cannot force her to engage with you. The more you pursue her, the more opportunity she has to reject you. You have to realize that relationships take two people MUTUALLY agreeing to engage with each other. She has pretty much put up the wall and made it clear that is as far as your getting. Let it go. If she is being pas'd by her bm, (which i highly suspect she is)...anything you do will be spun into a negative...

It is sad when parents sacrifice their own children to satisfy their own personal agendas, but there is not a whole lot you can do. Just be the best version of you that you can be...and feel good about that. I agree with obliging her wishes right now. Don't expect anything beyond a shallow level of conversation with her. Accept your relationship may be at a level one and that is the best you can do.

Do not leave it all up to her. Respect yourself, do not grovel...that just gives her all the power. Get on with your life. Enjoy your dh and maintain a culture of honor in your home. as long as she is respectful of your position, pour your energy into something else. It is important that dh shows you the utmost respect when she is around, because you are establishing culture in your home and he is the influencing example of what will and will not be tolerated. I am sure she will test the line soon considering her age. inside she doesn't want any of this...but she is not in control of her own life, and hasn't learned that life isn't about always getting what we want or doing only what we feel like...That will come in time as she matures, and as you and dh give her a strong sense of security by showing her a stable home where people love and respect one another.

In time she will choose her own path, but don't be nieve to think that bm's influence won't have a profound effect on her over time, because it usually does...Be strong, do not evolve everything in your home around coddling the children. Remember your position, and be intentional about the culture you choose in your home...peace.

Evil3's picture

I was in the same position as you with my SD27. She started shunning me when she was 13 and spent the next 7 years shunning me in my own home. If I engaged with her she would answer politely, but other than that, she shunned me. I'm used to coaching and meeting goals, so I made a plan to make efforts to reach out and engage at a minimum of three times a day. It never worked. My counsellor told me to shun the bitch right back because if I'm getting repeatedly rejected every time I "try" I'm only setting myself up for getting rejected at least three times a day. It's also rewarding SD's behaviour because she knows she's got power over me and sees it when I "try" three times a day.

I think the painful part was that my DH allowed SD to exclude me. I hope someone posts the SM's Rights essay, because one of them is that "I will not be made an outsider in my own family/household." Too often our DHs won't address their precious princesses because these DHs are too afraid of losing them to BM, so they pretend that it's either not happening or they gaslight the SM or make excuses. My DH would claim that since my SD wasn't yelling and swearing at me that it wasn't so bad, but it was intolerable and soul destroying. The fact that she was a mini-wife added to it.

After shunning the bitch right back, I felt so much better and liberated. I did not care at all about what she thought. I had SS in the home as well and it was blatant on my part that I shunned her right back, but totally engaged with SS and did favours for him. It took quite a while, but SD did not at all like being the one who was left out of my MY clique which included DH, SS, DD and myself. My SD now talks to me, but I never forgot what she did or the hell I went through. Believe me, just shun right back. Don't make any effort whatsoever. Don't initiate anything, don't say hello, don't ask how your SD's day was. She's made it clear that she's trying to gain power and she knows she's got you. Take your power back. If your DH says you're being rude, just tell him the hell off and say that you're simply following SD's lead and since no one is standing up for you and addressing her then you'll not be ready to make any more efforts only to get shot down. You can dethrone the queen. It's a power play. Don't give her any more power. Take it back.