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Step-Daughter Tried to commit Suicide

NeedAdvice101's picture

Hi - I need some advice/help on what to do and where my boundaries need to be. I have been married 7 years, and my SD is 19. My DH and the BM were never married, together for a short time only. They are civil towards each other, but don't generally get along. A few weeks ago my SD tried to commit suicide and was found and is ok thankfully. She lived with a roommate but her BM and my DH won't let her be alone for the time being (understandable). Through all of this, I just feel like my thoughts/feelings/opinions on any of this don't matter. I have been a step-mom to this girl for 7 years, known her for 12 years. Should my opinions be put to the side for this type of situation? BM and DH are talking every day and treating her like a child. To be honest, I think the BM is half of the problem (very controlling of my SD, hardly let her see her dad in the past, complains about money, etc). I have not said that I think she is the problem, but I do have some things to say that might help. I just feel like he, DH, is making decisions with BM before even talking to me, and I don't know what right or wrong or otherwise. I don't know anyone else who is a stepmom with a crazy ex. Where should my boundaries be and should I wait to bring up issues until this situation with the SD clams down a bit? I am going crazy holding all of this in that I can, and feel like I am not being supportive, instead being upset about not being able to share things.

Notup4it's picture

They are her parents and it is a serious situation- so I prob would put my ego aside and let them deal with it without interjecting myself.  

justmakingthebest's picture

I am sure that you are feeling very protective of your SD right now and want to be heard. I would imagine that I would desperately want to as well, especially if the choices the bio parents are making are going to affect me as well. 

I hate to say it, because I am a very outspoken person and am the type that wants to take control and fix everything- but I think the only role that you can play FOR RIGHT NOW is be supportive of your DH. 

The reason I threw that in caps is because if you DH decided that SD needs to come live with you, or your household needs to start shelling out tons of $$, or any other requests that you are uncomfortable with, make sure you don't lose your voice in your marriage. I think your DH is shocked, scared and hurting right now. I am sure BM is as well. Try not to take it personally and allow a little time. However, I would not allow them to continue to not include you for long. 

MurphysLaw's picture

I believe I would stay out of it up to the point that it actually affected me

Her moving into my home 

DH wanting to use OUR shared funds to ship her off to a quarter million dollar facility 

DH spending the night at BM “for SD”

etc., if any of these things or similar examples happened without my input, then yes I would make my voice heard.

NeedAdvice101's picture

Thank you, I really needed to hear that. Sometimes it is hard to take a step back, but might be necessary for this moment.

MurphysLaw's picture

My Xs oldest son27 was in active addiction (heroin), I tried many times to explain to X the “thought process” of an addict, what he should expect next etc.

He WAS NOT INTERESTED in anything I had to offer. Sadly, Every.Single.Thing. I had told him came to pass. STILL he would not listen.

 I believe the son is currently on probation & living with a new girlfriend…

Sadly I believe it’s only a matter of time before he’ll start using again & possibly die of an OD.

 As I said he is my X, so I’ll probably read about it in the paper.

tog redux's picture

I'd just stay out of it, except to support DH. If he wanted my advice, I'd give it, but otherwise, let her parents deal with it.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

With an adult child I’d say your boundaries are where she wants them. I would certainly reach out to her and let her know you care about her and see how you can help her. If you’re willing to do what she ask then do it. If it’s too much then go from there.

From there I would focus on supporting my partner. I feel you have equal say in matters that directly impact your home but your voice may be through your partner. While you may feel BM is the issue that doesn’t help anyone really. You and partner may discuss that but unless you are close to BM and she is open to what you have to share there’s not much you can do. By me saying you have equal say in your home I don't feel your partner can just move the child in tomorrow or send her thousands of dollars without you're equal approval.

In the end this is an adult and it is their child first. Of course they are going to be in contact a lot more following this event. It’s understandable to have barriers and all that but it’s also a special circumstance. Again blaming BM isn’t going to get you anywhere. There are TONS of people who have sh*ty parents who don’t ever make attempts so this isn’t on BM. This is your stepdaughter who needs to learn how to cope with the life she has. Be supportive of your partner and help SD if she asks but that's the end.

ESMOD's picture

I do think this is her parent's situation to deal with.  While it's nice that you feel close enough to be in the situation, the truth is that right now her parents are probably putting aside a lot of things between them in order to work together for her.. and probably it is best if they can do that without third parties in the mix... ie it's hard enough as it is.

BUT.. this is where I do think you need to be consulted and this is where the rubber meets the road where YOU are concerned.  They don't get to make unilateral decisions that will impact you without your knowledge or input.  Your DH can't mortgage your home you both own to get her treatment.  He can't necessarily offer her a FT place in your home.. he can't promise her things that will require your financial or other sacrifice... at least not without your agreement.

Rags's picture

IMHO the solution is boundaries.  Set the boundaries on any interface with BM and set the standards of behavior for any children in your home. Enforce those boundaries and standards without exception.

This does a number of things, the most important of which is that it creates a stable environment and expectation for the SD to set her personal foundation on.  When BM manipulates, smack her with the boundaries and keep SD informed of the facts. 

This may not keep BM from manipulating SD but it will give SD the facts and support her in developing her own baundaries with her BM and to recognize when BM is manipulating.

You and DH need to be in lock step on all of this and DH needs to be the primary stick that beats BM (figuratively of course)  when she pulls her crap.  Together you and DH can be SD's stable support structure and provide an environment and relationship stability that will helf SD normalize her life and calm her suicidal anxieties.

Just my layman's thoughts of course.

Good luck and I am sorry to hear of your SD's suicide attempt.

tog redux's picture


Yes, let's blame the BM and attack her. That will help the suicidal girl, I'm quite sure.  Let's cause a fight between the parents and that will help this young adult recover from trying to commit suicide.

She's NINETEEN. This is insane advice.

tog redux's picture

How about butt out because she's the step parent and it's none of her business how it's handled?

I know you think brute force and shoving out the other bio parent is the solution to all step issues, but in this case, the OP needs to just stay out and support her DH as he supports his ADULT daughter.  Getting in the middle and blaming the mother is not going to help anyone,.


SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Rags didn’t mean LITERALLY for BM to have her ass beat. Rags meant for DH to be the primary BM handler to muzzle his hag ex.

tog redux's picture

That's not appropriate either. I don't hear that BM did anything except that the SM doesn't like her, and even if she did, it's not the SM's job to do ANYTHING like this. And the parents turning on each other won't help the kid in the slightest.

Notup4it's picture

I agree with this. The worst possible thing for OP to do would be to start drama with her husband or this young ladies mother right now..... it is the last thing ANY of them need.  

I also don’t think it is fair to point fingers ar the mom, because you are not an expert, and I also don’t think it is appropriate to BLAME someone for someone’s suicide attempt- there would be WAY more at play. 

This just isn’t a time to be selfish and feel you need to interject yourself.... you have been around a while, but you are not a parent and you are not considered next of kin either. 

Rags's picture

How is a spouse staying out of their partners life being a equity life partner? Isn't that what being married is all about?

I for one refuse to exclude my wife from any part of my life and would not tolerate if she were excluding me from part of her life.  Not that we don't both have our own friends,  peripheral relationships and peripheral interests.  We most definately do. We just keep each other fully informed and we share that part of our lives as well.  On a communication level.

And by peripheral relationships I am not referring to swinging or PolyAmory.  We are definately not swingers. I thought I would clarily that... just in case there may be some confusion.

CLove's picture

I lost my youngest brother to suicide. It really is traumatizing to the entire family. It sounds like you feel the outsider. Im sure there is a LOT more to this story, but the most important thing is to support your DH through all this. Certainly have boundaries, but now isnt the time to "fight the good fight". This girl is struggling with things, certainly, however you are not her parent and have to reconcile yourself with that fact and the fact that you have absolutely no say-so when it comes to her health.

I have to sit by while Munchkin SD12 gets heavier and heavier. Her parents are always feeding her sugar-filled crap. I can only live by example, and give advice to her on healthy eating. Toxic Troll took Toxic Feral Eldest to the ER because she had given the child HER Xanax prescription, and she had a bad raction. We steps cannot intervene - even if its in their best interest, and that really sucks.

I know this is a really tough time. Hope it gets better!

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

For threatening suicide . Apparently and I didn't know this she did try before Xmas. I have lots of thoughts and opinions . I saw this coming a mile down the train tracks . I long told them their bad parenting and North koreas personality diaorder would lead to this but I am not saying a word. They never listened to me before and I was ALWAYS right. I feel very bad for her. She is my daughter's sister for heavens sake. I am literally going through this right now . I think she needs to be committed into a treatment facility in three days and I think she needs an iud before she ends up pregnant but I am not saying a word 

fourbrats's picture

my husband made an attempt on his own life. He was in the military at the time and despite his multiple diagnoses they deployed him a second time in less than three years. They had him on 15 medications a day in order to keep him mission ready and it all came to a head. 

I took control when he returned. The opinions of his parents, siblings, friends etc meant nothing. There needed to someone in control. Had it been one of our kids it would have been us together. Had it been one of my kids it would have been my ex and I in control. This is one of those situations where too many cooks spoil the broth. The parents need to make the decisions and then inform everyone else. You can give your input to your husband within the privacy of your relationship and be a great support for your SD. Ask her to get a coffee, keep in touch and see what she needs outside of therapy, meds, and hovering parents. 

Monkeysee's picture

I agree with this. I understand the BP’s need to be in the drivers seat right now & their DD is the priority, but OP is no less her DH’s wife right now just because this is happening.

I think you should still able able to offer supportive suggestions to your DH in the privacy of your home, and he should still be seeing you as a source of support through this. 

Do you need to take a backseat in some ways right now? Yes. Will there be increased communication between DH & BM for the time being? Yes. But you are still his wife. Offer your suggestions if you think something would help SD, but leave the decision making to the BP’s.

If he’s not receptive to your suggestions, then follow his lead. Ask what you can do to help & what he needs right now.

Your DH has just gone through the biggest scare a parent can go through, and his DD isn’t out of the woods yet. Try to be patient & not make this about their interaction, but about supporting him as best you possibly can while SD gets the help she needs.