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What do you do about resentment?

may927's picture

My husband is a wonderful person, husband and father.  I truly have no complaints about him. His kids have been respectful and mostly accepting of me.  I am respectful and nice to them but in the 6 years we've lived together, I still cannot stand sharing my home with them.  It's mostly just SD 14 who lives with us every other week at this point.  I have a 7 month old with my husband, and between becoming a new mother and suddenly being home all the time and rarely escaping SD 14, my husband is struggling with me being distant from him.  We've always been very close and affectionate but I'm finding I have resentment towards him bc I don't want to share my home with SD 14.  The way I deal with my irritation and resentment is basically to disengage, but it's hurting my husbands feelings.  I love him so much still, but being home while she is loud and needy of him gets on my nerves.  I have tried therapy and hired a life coach.  We have plans to move once SD graduates in 3.5 years to be closer to our families.  I need to get through these next few years without hurting him so much but I struggle every time she is around.  Has anyone found anything that helped them get through resentment?

GoingWicked's picture

Maybe make a list about everything that bugs you so much about your SD being there, and then come up with a solution for each.  Maybe having DH take over some of the chores, banning her from certain areas of the house during certain times to give yourself some peace, or have scheduled time to leave the house do you can get away, or maybe it might not be a big deal, and you can just suck it up for the good of your marriage.

susanm's picture

My advice would be to be absolutely certain that it is the SD that is the problem.  Obviously a 14 year old girl is annoying.  She would be if she were your own child.  That is their job at that age and they do it well.  But your entire life has changed.  Suddenly staying home with an infant and all the hormones still running around in your body throws you into a tailspin.  And while you are fortunate to be able to stay home if that is your choice, it can be BORING on a daily basis.  Yet you can't say that out loud lest you appear "ungrateful and entitled."  So no matter what, you have to pretend that staying home with a tiny baby by yourself all day is just the most wonderful thing ever and not utter a complaint.  It would be very normal to focus your frustration on the irritating 14 year old.  But you could do some serious damage for years to come if you are one of the lucky ones who so far have had a decent step situation and have managed to deal well so far.  Tread carefully here and make sure you are placing blame where it belongs. 

may927's picture

I can see where you are coming from.  I am actually really happy being home with the baby.  I'm a homebody to begin with and Ido not find the routine to be boring.  SD 14 irritated me in the same way before except now Im exposed to her way more than  to before.  I didn't mention that before the baby I managed a very busy bar and restaurant and therefore was hardly around when the kids were home.  It's almost like this is brand new.  

tog redux's picture

Are you sure he's a "wonderful father"? Yes, teenagers can be irritating, but why is he allowing her to be "loud and needy"?

If he's not parenting her adequately (which includes making sure she's considerate of others in the home) then addressing that with him might help your resentment.

may927's picture

I am sure.  She's not that loud or that needy.  I just like things quiet all the time and expect her to hang out in her room alone which she doesn't do often.  She's also pretty busy and not home that often.  His daughters adore him and he expects them to be very independent.  He never babies them and calls them out when they are being too much.  He's really wonderful.  It's why I don't have a leg to stand on with him when I pull away ;(

ESMOD's picture

I guess my best advice is to try to focus on the positives that you have in your life..  and the things you do have to look forward to.

You have a beautiful healthy baby that you are able to spend all your time with.

You have a loving and supportive husband.

Your SD is only there 50% of the time and your DH is the one that takes care of her.

Then try to have some sympathy/empathy for the other people here.

Your SD is splitting her time between two homes and she likely picks up on the fact that you don't care for her.  That can't be easy.   I'm not saying that poor widdle COD's should be given a carte blanche but it is not an easy line to walk.

Your SO is trying to please everyone.. and in the process... is likely pleasing no-one.  Of course, he needs to parent his child.. and set  boundaries.. if the behavior is beyond normal.. but sometimes trying to put yourself in his shoes too.. can make you appreciate that he puts in effort to try.

Finally, sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.  Acting Girl!  focus on whatever positives the SD has.. and maybe over time.. they will outweigh the bad.. or at least.. she will be gone in a few years... so in the end, it's not the end of the world.. just another 3-4 years.

may927's picture

Thanks for the response.   All the things you mentioned are what I've been trying to focus on.  So far it's helping but you have to keep that frame of mind up and practice constantly to make real change! 

Thisisnotus's picture

The one and only thing I think will help is make 100 percent without a doubt certain to set your moving date and look forward to that. These step kids don't seem to leave home at graduation.........make sure she does and if she doesn't...she lives with her mom. End of story. Make sure that your DH knows how serious and certain the move NOT extend it for any reason whatsoever or you'll never get to move.........When the time comes.........GO! If your DH balks....leave him behind.

In the meantime focus on your baby....maybe a part time job.....when SD is 15...make her get a job...make her get a license when she can......

Evil3's picture

I went back and read your other blogs. I detect a bit of the clingy mini-wife dynamic. It sounds like your DH is one of those conflict -avoidant types and acts like he doesn't see what you are experiencing, so he does little or nothing about your concerns.

I experienced a stage 5 clinger and a mini-wife on steroids for almost two decades before I found this site and found out that I had legitimate reasons to be driven completely insane.

Can you provide more details on why your SD14 drives you nuts? Is she a clinger to her dad? Is she an attention whore? Is she behind her peers? If any of those are true and your DH isn't doing much about those issues, I can see why you feel the way you do and you'd rather her not be there.

may927's picture

I wouldn't say she's a clinger.  She's the youngest of 3 and is very busy with friends and activities.  She values family very much as well.  I think it's hard for her to only see her father every other week (BM is ok but definitely the less stable parent) and then have to share him with a new baby and wife.  She's very sweet to me.  Hugs me and says I love you.   When she is hanging out in shared spaces she likes to sing and is just kind of loud.  Mind you, I'm a quiet,reserved introvert.   She never stops talking and is constantly like "Papa this and Papa that" telling him every detail of her day.   She's not a shitty person at all, I just don't often enjoy listening to get constantly.  Honestly she's a normal, emotionally articulate nice teenager.  She never complains if you ask her to help.  My husband spreads his attention to everyone and puts me first, if anyone.  It's not them, it's me.  I am frustrated with my inability to change.  Distancing myself is killing my husband. Sad Thanks for your interest.  

StepUltimate's picture

One suggestion is to simply keep reading this website & the stories you can relate to, and learn from those who have gone before you & you respect (okay to ignore or delete the resident trolls, too). Your SD situ sounds (to me) a lot more positive than many here on StepTalk in terms of your SD's behavior and her BM not being a high-conflict nightmare. In no way am I diminishing your very real, 100% valid frusteration - just going from your old job to being a full-time mom of your baby is a huge life-change on its own! But being a new mom, career-change, schedule change, body changes PLUS a SD is a LOT!

I'm glad you're blogging here & hope you are encouraged & validated. For me, just getting it typed out is helpful. The bonus is that we are not alone or going crazy - this Step life is HARD. 

StayTrue's picture

I can relate to this. I too actually can be pretty sensitive to noise. Even with my own children I like some quiet time. For some reason, my SD's noise just irks me. But to be honest she is the loudest one. My kids actually are pretty quiet and calm. They have their moments but it isn't on all the time like she is. I have to remove myself once I get a sensory overload.

I think as long as you communicate to your husband that you need your space to help you avoid excalating your emotions or a situation, I imagine he would understand. 

Iamwoman's picture

Hey May927, what you are feeling is absolutely, completely, 100% normal!

I know we are civilized human beings and all, but how quickly we forget that we DO have basic biological instincts that have allowed our species to thrive.

One of those instincts is to protect at all cost, the future of your own DNA/offspring. In caveman days, sharing your man with another woman meant also sharing any resources he brought to the table.

If times were tough, that 14 year old would gobble up the meat and leave none for your baby. Instinctually, you know this to be true. In caveman days, offspring that is not biologically our own would be killed or at least left to die so that our own offspring could benefit from limited resources.

Step families are not natural.

Child birth absolutely brings forth most of our basic biological drives and feelings.

However, we ARE civilized, so we tolerate our skids instead of killing them. Just be happy that you're not feeling murderous ok?

You are fine and you are normal.

may927's picture

It is certainly helpful to think of things in that way, especially when I am beating myself up for my feelings.  Thank you!

fakemommy's picture

Reading your other blogs, it sounds like you are an extreme introvert and your skids are extroverts. This can be really hard and exhausting. Since SD seems kind and understanding, maybe you should have a talk with her about this and about how it exhausts you to have constant contact and chatter/noise.

The first year of a baby's life is so hard. You are learning to be a mother while juggling being a stepmother and wife. It is really really hard. Give yourself a break and find ways to be alone and have space.

Rags's picture

What you are feeling is not unnatural.  I had similar feelings when my DW and I first started dating.

I equated it to a mammalian rejection of someone else's offspring in my life.  At that time I saw an Amimal Planet special on lions that focused on a new male taking over a pride.  It is common for the new male to kill the cubs of his predecessor to preserve resources for his own progeny and to launch estress in the lionesses so the new male can launch his own genetic line within the pride.

As humans we have the ability make decisions.   When I came to the realization that my DW was the woman I wanted to make a life with it was clear that I needed to accept her son as well.  So that is what I did.

You have chosen to make a life and family with your DH.  Accepting his children is part of that choice.

For me it was relatively straightforward.  When we met and started dating SS was 15mos old.   Once I adjusted my acceptance of him I chose not only his mom, I chose him too.  So...... I raised SS-27 as my own.

He asked me to adopt him when he was 22.  We made that happen.

Apply your intellect over your emotion.  You only have a few years until SD launches.


Enjoy your blended experience as much as you can until then.

Good luck.

TriciaRay's picture

It always hard to construct perfect relationships. Everyone has their own needs and very often the opinion is different. Indeed, this is an unpleasant situation and it is always hard to come to a common consensus in the circumstances so that everything suits everyone and does not offend anyone. Each of us has personal boundaries and needs which he is afraid to neglect and does not want to sacrifice. And it’s not that you have to do something to solve the situation. First of all, you must establish a balance in your psychological state and understand yourself. I was in a similar situation and training with a coach from helped me a lot. Frankly speaking, a really good specialist can help you.

blended4213's picture

Not with having a new baby with a stepchild, but to the adjustment of it all. And needing quiet. I moved to another state and have had so many changes, adding 3 new kids to the family was a lot, especially when they can be very annoying too. 

I need a lot of downtime and my kids are used to that, but DH and his kids were not. Having a supportive DH has been huge. Yesterday he took his kids to his family's get together and I stayed home because as working this weekend and knew I needed to rest. He knows how they get on my nerves and has been trying to take them out, or to be quieter at the house. He also supports me when I need to leave for awhile. Hopefully your DH can help you with this. 

I would recommend lots of self care with a new baby too, that is a huge and wonderful change. You may not be getting much sleep or time to yourself and could then get overwhelmed and stressed and everything about your stepdaughter might bug you even more. 

Seriously7's picture

I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of resentment. I lost it yesterday with my husband in the car after finding out SD will be here for who knows how long in a few weeks. He hadn't asked my opinion on it. So, my resentment comes out in heart palpitations, screaming, and sobbing. Not healthy at all. I actually hit my husband in the leg because of it. I'm not proud of it and I apologized for that. I called a counselor today to try and schedule an appointment.