How can I stop feeling like this?
Im a new member here and have long standing issues with my adult step-daughter. I’m sorry in advance for the long post but have been looking for years for somewhere to offload!
To give a bit of background - I met my (now) husband 16 years ago. We were both going through divorces at the time having both been left by our previous spouses. I had 2 little boys of 5 and 8 and he had a daughter of 8. My divorce was pretty straight forward - no contest of who my boys would live with or how often my ex would see them - but his divorce was painful and acrimonious. His ex played the ‘Mummy’ card when it benefitted her but once the financial judgement had been made in her favour, she announced to the court that she ‘wouldn’t be able to have her daughter stay with her for the foreseeable future as she had nowhere suitable to live and needed to re-establish her social life due to the controlling relationship she’d had with her ex’ - so to cut a long story short, my husband was given a residence order in his favour with his daughter being able to have adequate contact with her Mother.
She had contact weekly for some months but one day, she wanted to attend a party instead of having tea with her Mother - this is when her mother stopped contact stating that we were stopping her from seeing her (we lived in the same village and walked past her mothers house each day to school and always encouraged her to stop by if she wanted to). Neither mother or daughter then made any effort to maintain any contact - leaving me to it.
Now, some may say that that’s great - and it could’ve been - however, there were paternal grandparents sat in the wings overseeing everything I did, said or thought!! But everything I did was wrong in their eyes. My SD was used to being an only child and with this, was very indulged and allowed to scream and shout at anybody who got in her way - including me! When I put boundaries in place and sanctions in place her grandparents would step in and take her to their house for days to calm down - I was completely undermined every step of the way. They said we should let her do whatever she wanted because her mother had left her and that’s got to be hard - so, I was supposed to let her scream in my face because she didn’t want me to remove nits from her hair, or she didn’t want to eat THAT, or she should be allowed to stay out later than I was comfortable with, etc.... and my husband just said - well, she’s always been that way - she’s always screamed - it’s the way she is....
I raised this child how I raised my boys - lots of love and laughter but a pretty normal home where sometimes people get stressed and get it wrong - I’m no saint - I worked hard - we fostered several children but always questioned if the children we were working with would fit in - and they did! In fact, my step daughter became really close friends with the older girl we fostered long term. They had absolutely everything, holidays, nice clothes, a lovely caring home where their friends were always welcome for parties, sleepovers etc - in fact, we probably spoilt them all too much.
My boys have always been respectful and kind - not always well behaved - in fact my eldest was the only one of our children (including the fostered children) to be arrested! I know I’m not showing favouritism and I made sure of that because I’m a step-child myself.
The youngest was born with a heart problem and a chromosome deletion. His first few years were touch and go - we spent many nights in hospital including 3 weeks when he had heart surgery and complications afterwards. He’s needed lots of care and still requires a high level of care at 13 due to his learning disability. SD makes no effort with him and flatly refused to have him for a few hours as he ‘might hurt her son’ (he’s not violent) - she only sees him if my husband takes him to her house.
So, fast forward quite a few years and she’s now in her early 20s, a home owner (we supplied the deposit) and a mother herself to a little boy. (I was there when he was born at her request but after that was allowed very little time around him - she didn’t want help from anyone and when her dad asked why she didn’t ask for advice or anything she responded with - that’s what Google is for!)
She’s continued to shout at us all when things aren’t going her way but 2 years ago she really went for it.
We had just moved into a sweet new house (downsized), I’d established a lovely little gift shop and was making some jewellery to sell and told her how proud I was that I had sold something to this beautiful, well groomed, well spoken young lady who had chosen something I had made over everything else in the shop -well, my SD flew into a rage, screaming and shouting (in front of her 18 month old son) about how I’m only interested in my own success, how she’s had a terrible childhood, how I’d got everything wrong, how I’d treated her differently to the boys oh, you name it, the whole lot came out.... she then refused to speak to either my husband or myself for weeks - her partner phoned everyday to update us on how she was - and also blamed my parenting for her being upset! I suggested she have counselling - was told she wasn’t mad - I’d made her like this and how she wished that she hadn’t called me mum but had the same relationship with me that my boys had with her dad (believe me, it would’ve been easier to have shared raising her with her mother - and would’ve been nice if her mother had contributed to her upbringing too but alas)
We haven’t spoken really now for 2 years - she told her dad that she had gone over the top but that’s how she felt and she would not apologise to me as she’s always had to apologise for saying what she felt and now she’s an adult, nobody is going to tell her what to do.
So I now find myself in this awful situation where she has made contact with her birth mother - she has contact with the whole family apart from me (well, doesn’t really bother with my eldest but occasionally texts the middle one) - and so when I get snippets of information about her and her family, I feel so anxious, angry, upset.... everything ... to the point it’s making me ill. I can’t talk to her - I’ve tried but she just ends up screaming and shouting at me that I treated her different to my own children and nothing I say will stop her shouting - My husband has told his parents not to contact me any more as the verbal/emotional abuse I received from his Father became too much (that’s another story)
I could go on forever as I have nobody to talk to about this and carry these feelings all the time - I wake up in the night thinking about it - it pops in my head through the day - it’s so sad as all I ever wanted was a happy family life with grandchildren running around my garden and enjoying life. I now feel I can’t approach her to sit and talk about it - she wouldn’t anyway as she’s always said that’s how she feels and that’s that - and she sounds so happy with her life now without me - I’ve never managed to make her happy anyway - perhaps it’s better just left - but it’s just soo hard.
If if you’ve managed to read this far - thank you - I really needed somewhere to put this. Has anyone else had problems like this?