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When dysfunctional becomes your new normal

Freshstart's picture

Quick recap. SD17 (18 next month) is very attached to her dad. Only child. Slow maturation. Lots of work this end to assist with her independence. Never ending uphill battle but some good improvements.

In my opinion SD17 lives for opportunities to stand by her daddy's side and be his pseudo partner. DH appears to not want that but is one of those "hey we are all one big happy family" types.

So my problem is that last week I just went along with the status quo. Its like i have been brainwashed entirely. I heard myself inviting her to family and friends catch ups. I think I just feel pressured to. She just sits there or stands next to her dad. All my family and friends know she thinks she is a mini-wife. Even DH gets something is not quite right with how she interacts. It's like she's lost now that the reality is no longer just her and dad together at things.

So what is wrong with me? I just cruised along and more or less blanked her out. Feeling neutral and totally removed from it. Problem is also feeling distant from DH. Not trying to, its like some new zombie me has come to stay.

Anyone have this reaction over time? Did you come out the other side?

It's been three years of her now. I think I preferred the me that cared no matter how painful it was. I do not want to mute down the intense and beautiful connection I have (had? yikes) with DH.

sandye21's picture

I know where you are coming from. My SD was an only child too, and there were many times when I was left in the background, invisible while SD and DH had a good old time together. You've had it for three years and you need to stop it now. I went through it for decades and it only got worse. By the way, it is not just your SD, your DH is playing a role in this. He seems to be enjoying it too. The relationship they have is called 'emotional incest' and it is sick. He needs to release her so that she can grow up to be a fully functioning adult, and you two can be true Husband and Wife. You may have to be the one to put your foot down. If it comes to that, do it. There may be a few adjustments for DH and SD but you will be glad you did.

You asked if we came out the other side. Yes, but with a price. I didn't stand my ground for over 20 years - WAY too long. In the end SD became so violent and hostile I had to ban her from my home. DH and I came a hair away from getting divorced. We no longer have SD in our lives.

Freshstart's picture

Good advice thankyou.

Even when I wrote this, I did not realise how clearly things are not right.

We have been to counselling and have done all this hard work to readjust. DH has stuck to the script and put in place initiatives for SD17 to be more independent. He swears that he did not partner or mini-wife with her deliberately. He acknowledges that when he had SD with him, he did not think enough and did not realise that she only went out with him and not with her friends. He has moved on and is grateful to have a steady helping hand to recommend that she has friends etc.

Counsellor says we are doing well and have made great improvements.

I do not know what is wrong with me? Its like I just do not believe it in my body and am just zoned out. It is not deliberate. Maybe the feeling that SD17 remains territorial and the rest is all just a charade because boring old me came along and DH fell in love me and had to be normal. Don't know. Not sure the counsellor is particularly helping me. Its all just "oh look at all these improvements."

Newimprvmodel's picture

Stepaside, I think you should start planning some escape valves for yourself those two weeks. Any thoughts about not accepting her bad dh? Meaning is he going to tell her to respect his wife? My ex had a vicious aunt and everyone walked on eggshells around her.....which only perpetuated the verbal abuse.
Have you and dh discussed this upcoming visit?

doingitforlove's picture

My DH and Stepkid are very close. Like BFFs. Talk/text during day, and at night. I pulled myself out of any conversation, I would be in my phone or reading(plus stepkid and I don't, nor ever spoke to each other). Because they would be talking trash about the BM1 or BM2 or putting down something/someone. It was never anything positive, one or the other would be making nasty comments about something. I can't relate. I couldn't be a part of that toxic conversation. Now DH goes to SK room to talk about stuff, or emails and texts: daily news, stuff going on, news here, there, anywhere.

Seems like the only thing that distinguishes a wife from a kid is the s*x? It's one thing to be "friends" with your grown kids, but this seems excessive. I'm certainly not special to him in anyway, except one way. I need a man that only has one mistress - me :O

Freshstart's picture

The insisting that I come along to things is a feature for me as well.

My take on it is exactly the same as yours. If SD17 appears to want to chat with her Dad etc, I do not have issue with that and prefer to do something else anyhow.

I admire DH for saying that he feels like he got it wrong at stages with SD17. I feel bad that my body is starting to zone out. He has put in a massive effort as have I. I believe that what he wants most is a loving relationship with his wife and for his daughter to gain independence and lead a healthy life. I believe in him so cannot account for my reaction.

Thank you everyone for understanding. Also reading your comments is focusing my mind better. What it is that is bothering me is the whole energy of the situation. SD17's focus on pleasing her dad and attachment to her dad is unnerving. There I wrote it. Her 18th Birthday is coming up in 4 weeks and I just know there will be daddy related drama. I am determined to be uninvolved.

Why oh why doesn't she have a boyfriend, best friend and a life? Sorry I know that I cannot change what I cannot change but it really is nuts. I have to be able to say this somewhere and somehow.