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Esstranged Stepdaughter

townie924's picture

Thank you for this forum..I have a question. My husband has an adult daughter that he is estranged from. Her cruel behavior has led my husband to this decision. His sister is still very friendly with her niece. I am having great difficulty in accepting this sister in law. I can understand that there is an emotional connection between her and her niece, but I have mixed feelings about my sister in law maintaining a friendly relationship towards her knowing how cruel she is to my husband (her brother). Am I wrong in wishing that she would support my husband or at least address this with her niece. Or is this truly a case where my sister in law may feel that she doesn't want to get involved. Thank yo

stepmisery's picture

The only way you will know is to ask SIL. Be prepared that she may see the situation much differently than you, that many things may have gone on before you arrived in the picture.

dontcallmestepmom's picture

I so agree! People can really differ in their thoughts in these kinds of situations. The SIL could be very defensive if she is asked, but it is so hard to say....

dontcallmestepmom's picture

She may not want to get involved. I know it is very hard for you to watch your husband be treated this way by his daughter, and you probably feel like your SIL is betraying your husband. Your SIL may see this as her having a completely separate relationship with her niece that does not impact her relationship with her brother/your husband. It may be that your husband's daughter is very different with your SIL OR your SIL accepts the cruel behaviors-some people allow themselves to be treated badly. Maybe your SIL feels pity for your husband's daughter.

I can kind of relate. My fiance has 3 adult kids-they are 19, 20, and 23. They are HORRIBLE to him. Their mother raised them to believe that he is theirs to control and that all he is good for is money. He has never had a good relationship with them bc of their mother's interference and lack of morals. Also, they are odd-very detached and cold. He stopped handing them cash last year and now they barely contact him, but they love to drop hints for money.

I am so glad he saw the light, but he still has some hope that they will change. Maybe that is something your SIL thinks, or maybe she just has a good relationship with her niece. I will NEVER tell my fiance to stop talking to his kids, but when he answers a text or an email, I cringe bc it is never a good thing-there is always drama. I can handle it, however, bc he is not allowing them to take advantage and abuse him anymore.

My future mother-in-law was like your SIL, although, like my fiance, she has never had a close relationship with his kids. However, up until about 9 months ago, she was defending their behaviors and making excuses. At one point, she wanted my fiance to rent his daughter an apartment and pay the rent for a year. I do not know where she thought we would find that money. She then wanted the "kids" to move in with us, knowing that I will never allow that, as they have been cruel to me and my fiance, they do not work, and have no morals or values. As their behaviors got worse, and continue to, my MIL finally realized how horrible they are. But, like you, I had to sit and watch.

I would let it go, as long as your SIL is not giving your husband a hard time, making him feel guilty, etc. Just be there for him. It is pretty awful for a parent to have an estranged child, bc no matter what the child does, it is still their child.

townie924's picture

Thank you for such quick replies! may be right in that I do not know all that went on prior to my entering the picture. My husband has shared much but it is certainly his perspective. Don'tcallme stepmom.....I already know that the SIL will be defensive. I think I just need more courage to address this directly with her. You hit the nail on the head...I was searching for that word..."betrayal" That is exactly how I feel. Need to think about all that you have said

stepmisery's picture

You might want to disengage from their relationship. If you try to win your SIL to also estrange herself from SD, you might just touch off WWIII. Whatever relationship goes on between SIL and SD is really their business, as they are both adults.

LizzieA's picture

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that SIL is an interfering meddler who is making herself feel superior at the expense of her brother. These types of families have the in group and out group, usually run by narcissistic controlling women. I was turned on when I married their brother (3 sisters). Does it make sense? Not to a normal person.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I think LizzieA has a valid point here. My own sister is a meddler who has a real gift for sniffing out relationships that have some sort of conflict or trouble. She inserts herself as though she is just "helping" or "being friendly" and tries to claim innocence to any manipulation - which is bull. She gathers information from people like seeds in order to sow a poisonous crop, for whatever her twisted reasons are.

Every situation and person is different, however. In this case, it may be true innocence and the SIL may just be trying to maintain a relationship with her niece. If, however, the sister doesn't have the best relationship with your DH, she could be looking to brew trouble via the SD.

sandye21's picture

I have a sister like this also. She is "being friendly" too to two older adopted children who treated me like dog doo, and to this day have attachment, drug, alcohol problems and look for anyone to mooch off of. When I told her to let them live with HER, suddenly she is not that 'friendly' anymore. LOL

Poodle's picture

Be so so careful in digging up the past. See if you can find out from an objective third party why they are estranged. Neither party may have told you the full story. I would not be able to comment further unless I knew what you meant by "cruel". If you decide you don't want to go there, I would keep your distance from the sister in order to let sleeping dogs lie.

hereiam's picture

What is your husband's relationship with his sister? How does he feel about his sister's relationship with his daughter?

My husband's sisters are the same way. I can never figure out exactly where their loyalties lie. My husband is aware of their games and has just accepted that is the way they are. Contact with them is limited and he doesn't tell them our business. I stay out of it. Well, I'm very opinionated so I tell him my thoughts but I don't try to keep him from talking to or seeing his family. It is his choice to keep them at arms length. I just think of them as acquaintances.

LizzieA is right on, at least in my case. It is a control issue with his older sister being the worst (she also has a martyr complex).

stormabruin's picture

I don't think it's fair to expect family to disown or dislike family members because you don't like them. IMO, it's like BM insisting DH's kids hate him because she does.

If you don't like SD, that's your choice to make, but I don't agree with expecting other family members to be unfriendly to her because you think they should.

Jsmom's picture

Let it go. My SIL still talks to my SD16. Nothing I can do about it. But, this has led to her and BIL no longer being welcomed in my home, without some serious mea culpa....

townie924's picture

Again, so many opinions and I'm thrilled to hear every one of them. Thanks you for taking the time to answer. I had never thought about it being like the BM insisting that the kids hate him because she does. An eye opening moment for me.

hereiam's picture

I am very close to my niece (still a child.) If she grows up to treat my sister badly, I would not be happy with her and would not condone it. I would talk to her about it and try to turn her around but I can't say that I would cut her out of my life, I love her like my own child.

Even now, she calls me and my husband when she is mad at her mom and we have to calm her down and explain to her what's what. By the next day, they are fine. But she often asks to come live with us!

Every family dynamic and relationship is different and yes, it is hard to understand sometimes. That is family!