Need guidance dealing with manipulative Adult stepdaughters
I am new to this forum and thrilled to find this site. I am in the middle of a melt down and I don't know what to do. Both my husband and I are on our second marriage. I have two biological sons (12 & 16) and three step-daughers (25, 22 & 15.) My husband has been divorced from his ex-wife for approximately ten years. We have been married for two years and together for four years.
There is a ten year age difference between my husband and I and there is a 14 year age difference between myself and my oldest step-daughter.
My relationship with my stepdaughters, started off okay, but has since taken a major turn for the worse. There have been at least a dozen incidents where the older two step-daughters have been extremely rude to me. My husband doesn't hold them accountable and says he doesn't want to get into the middle of it. My relationship with my step-daughers continues to get worse. They were VIVIDLY clear from the beginning that I wasn't their step-mother. I was their Dad's wife and they didn't have as step-father, their biological Mom had a husband.
The incidents that continue to take place are very childlike, immature and very hurtful. They vary from stealing photos off of my walls of my home, de-friending me and my sons from Social Networking sites, Telling me off in front of large groups of people in public places, not talking to me when I talk with them, being exceptionally ungrateful when they receive gifts, and just downright rude.
My husband tells me he will do anything to fix the situation. We have started marriage counseling, however things aren't getting any better. I find myself angry about the blatent disrespect that they continue to dish out to me without any accountability. I have tried to be the better person and I don't see anything changing.
I have had countless conversations with my girlfriends about the situation. I have heard everything from they are jealous to they are just spoiled brats. My first conclusion was they were jealous and they weren't seeing their Dad enough. Both of the older step-daughters live out of state. I encouraged my husband to take trips to spend alone time with them thinking that would re-assure his daughters that I am not here to threaten their relationship, but encourage it. Nothing has changed. One of the daughers recently found out she is pregnant and I sent a few gifts via the mail and I didn't even get a thank you. I sent the gifts hoping that we would be some sort of a peace offering and didn't even get as much as a text message or e-mail acknowledging she received the gifts.
I work full time and pay about 80% of the bills. My husband still pays for both his daughter's student loans and a massive amount of child support for the youngest step daughter. My husband doesn't have enough money to pay for his fair share after he spends all his money on his girls.
I don't know if they think I am taking his money? The reality is he doesn't have any. I am really concerned that my marriage can't withstand this turmoil with this rude behavior and no one holding them accountable for their actions. I have drafted letters/e-mails to send to them about my hurt feelings, however after reading posts on this website, I don't think that is the correct way to handle this situation.
I don't enjoy being around my step daughters. I find myself quiet and withdrawn when they come over. I am normally a very positive person that is known for being upbeat and an eternal optimist. I am not a depressed person, however I am very depressed about this situation and I don't think it will ever get better. I look forward to any advice that any of you may be able to offer...