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A different perspective: my Step-Dad hates me.

Daisy13's picture

Hello! Unlike pretty much everyone else on this forum (where stepparents come to "vent"), I am a step-daughter. I thought this might be a good place to get some advice from the perspective of the step-parent.

I'm 21, so I've been away at university most of the time my Mum and I have lived with her new husband (he doesn't have any children himself). However, when I'm home it makes everyone miserable. I'll be graduating soon and I'm dreading living at home.

He refuses to go on holiday with me, so this year I've had to use a good chunk of my student loan to pay for myself to go on holiday with my Mum - he told my Mum she could only go on holiday with me if I paid for myself. My Mum has to pay for 2 holidays every year because she has to go with each of us separately. My mum thinks this is perfectly normal becuse they're "newly married" and "never get time alone" - its been 2 years and I'm away at university most of the time. I don't think this is normal at all. What do you guys think?

Last weekend, my Mum came up to visit me and stayed the night so we could see a ballet. Then due to health issues, I came home with her afterwards. Since being home, he has been cold towards my Mum and me, and moaning non-stop about how lonely he's been while she was away (for one night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I literally don't live in this house, how does he think I feel living on my own 24/7?!

Usually I'm too scared to say anything when he tells me "university is easy, wait until you do real work" or uses any opportunity to berate me and my "generation". At christmas, he even said, in front of his whole family "It's so nice to be here with everyone! The whole family together. Except for Daisy, she isn't family." My Mum said I overreacted when I brought it up later.

I can't think of anything I've done to upset him. I just try to be nice and sociable, and give them space when I can. Sometimes my Mum and I overrun so he gets left alone in the evening, but that's because I'm away at university most of the time. Basically, am I being an evil stepchild? Am I over-reacting? Or is my step-dad in the wrong? More importantly, is this normal? My mum is convinced that the constant separation, and us not being a family, is normal. I don't think it is.

Something has to change before I move back home permanently, but I don't know how to make this better. It can never be "good", but tollerable will suffice!

Thank you for reading and for any advice you have Smile

Booboobear's picture

Welcome Daisy!  and first off you and your mom are very lucky that your SDad doesnt have kids!!!!!  and are you sure he is not trying to be funny? Is he trying to make jokes that fall flat- all family except Daisy!? Is it awkward because hes making jokes and you don't find the jokes funny then he feels awkward?  Could you ask him,"are you serious?" or laugh like crazy and see if he responds to your laughter with happiness.  and lastly, just pretend the you are the one that just got married, your mom is the new mother in law and treat him how you would wish your mother would treat your new husband.  Help make him as comfortable as possible. 

STaround's picture

But it appears that  your mom does not value your relationship.  Please do NOT borrow money to go on vacation with her.  Write her letters.  Offer to stop by if you are in town.   Try to build family relationships with her family and your dad and his family. 

Tara456's picture

Can we go back some steps? What was it like when your SF met your mother? How was it (from your perspective) when you met him, spent time with him? How do you think it was from his perspective?  What was it like when they moved in together? What was the wedding like?


a) the "except Daisy line" was either a joke or if serious, terrible thing to say. 

b) you're 21 so yes I would think it normal to be expected to pay for holidays yourself, student or not. Occasionally parents may treat an adult of 21 to a holiday, but I find that's more of a special occasion thing or exception at times of extreme hardship more than anything else

TwoOfUs's picture

I agree that the "except for Daisy" line is horrible on the surface...but I'm wondering about the intent. As a stepparent, I've had awkward moments with my skids where someone assumed they were mine and I didn't want to say: "No! They're my stepkids!!!" but I also didn't want to seem like I was trying to replace their mom. 

I had similar issues with my stepkids and my family. Were they supposed to think of my mom as a grandma? They really didn't think of her that way and she didn't think of them that way. My siblings all had an easier time being aunt-like and uncle-like...but there were awkward moments there, too.

Maybe your stepdad just doesn't know how to integrate you into his family without feeling like he's taking over? Maybe he was trying to be goofy and it ended up seeming and feeling horribly mean. It seems like you and your mom have a close I highly doubt she'd just brush it off if it was intended to be awful and mean. My DH certainly wouldn't put up with it if I were mean to his kids for no reason...that's what makes me think that you've misread the intent. 

Look. My DH and I have been married for almost 9 years now. You aren't married yet, so you have no way to know or to understand this...but it gets to feel like you're one person in some ways. He adores his kids and is close with close as he's been allowed to be. But there are things about him that I "get" and secrets and fears that I know that no one else will ever know or understand...not his kids, not his sister...not his parents. 

I'm really sorry this is rough for you. But if your mom and stepdad have a strong marriage, there will be things she understands about him that you don't...and things he knows and understands about her. 

It's always rough living with someone else's grown child. No one wants that. Your stepdad should be civil to you and, hopefully, grow to care for you in time. It doesn't happen overnight, though. I will say, as a stepmom, I went in gung-ho wanting to love and adore my skids and really hit a point about 2 years in where their presence felt intolerable to me for a bunch of reasons...some totally fair and logical and others emotional and illogical. None of this was the kids fault, and I didn't take it out on them. Now, they are 22, 21, and 19 and I think we have a decent relationship overall. But it took years and years. 

It could be your stepdad is hitting that "the honeymoon is over" phase and really struggling with having a stepkid right now. If he's a reasonable person, and you're a reasonable person, you should be able to move through it and come out OK on the other side. 

mro's picture

I happen to agree, I don't take my adult kids on vacations. Other people choose to.  Where does he get off saying she can only take her daughter if she pays?  Of course Mom would need to be using her own money, not her husband's.  I can see him not wanting to pay the stepdaughter's way.  He sounds controlling.  Sorry, not much you can do except set boundaries for yourself.

beebeel's picture

This woman child doesn't know the financial agreements in her mother's marraige. We have no idea if stepdad "demanded" anything of her mother. It could very well be a mutually agreed upon decision that the adults pay for themselves. It's very common for a stepkid to scapegiat and villify the SP whenever boundaries or rules are imposed. 

beebeel's picture

Why would you permanently move back home after graduating university? Why aren't you planning to go live your own life? That is the thing that struck me as the most "not normal" about this situation.

And yes, it is normal to pay for your own vacations at age 21. 

As for his comment to his family at Christmas, it wasn't nice but it wasn't wrong, either. He is newly married to your mom and doesn't have any familial feelings for her adult daughter. That's not weird. That's normal. I don't know why he would vocalize those feelings so publicly, however.

lieutenant_dad's picture


OP, I think there is a combination of things you both are doing wrong, and I think some of what he is doing "wrong" is predicated on the things you're doing wrong.

Why are you taking out loans for a holiday? Why not work so you have the money to go? And if you don't have the money, then don't go out of town where it will be expensive. Once you're an adult, it is not your parent's job to foot your vacations/holidays/extras. That's on you.

If your SF thinks or knows you're moving back in "permanently" and thinks or knows you're taking out loans to front your extras, then he probably thinks that once you move in, you'll never move out. He has every reason and right to not want another adult living in his home - and yes, it's his home now. When he and your mother married, they became each other's priority. You are second to him, not the other way around.

My SF doesn't like it when my mother spends boatloads of time with my sister. Why? Because my mom ends up paying for everything. They don't have the kind of money that allows for my mother to spend full days out shopping, getting mani/pedis, grabbing lunch, and ordering lattes and dessert for two adults. It hurts their financial situation when it happens, and it drives my SF bonkers.

Ballets aren't cheap, and you're indicating that you have no income since you need loans for holiday and you have to move back home after graduation. My guess is that, similar to my mom and sister, your mom pays for you on these trips. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, if your mom and SF have combined income OR your mom isn't upholding her end of the financial equation because of you, then it really is a big deal.

Do his comments sound cruel? Yes, but I also don't know the context. At face value, what he said at Christmas was uncalled for. However, have you ever said he isn't your family? Or indicated during the holiday that he wasn't really "part" of thr group?

Basically, you're an adult now, and with that comes both privilege and responsibility. If he is an arse, you are totally free to not interact with him. That is your privilege. However, that also means you don't get to live in his home or use part of his income to fund you and your mother's adventures. You have the responsibility to take care of yourself fully, and if you are expecting your mother, and him by proxy, to make your early adult years easier at their expense without contributing equitably, then you're going to have a bad relationship with him. And it will be a bit deserved.

elkclan's picture

@Lt_Dad - there just isn't the culture of kids working while at university as there is in the US. I worked during term time, but I woud not expect my son to do so here in the UK. And certainly not in 2ndary school (even though I did in the US). 

Tara456's picture

The fact it's becoming less of the culture is a real problem in the UK IMO. This is part of the reason we're creaing such lazy, helpless Snowflakes. Of course anyone over 18 should be working whilst they're studying, evening shifts, weekends and term breaks, as milions of students have previously done for generations.

tog redux's picture

Well, he sounds like a controlling jerk, and your mom sounds very passive - why does he decide whether or not she pays for your holiday?

Honestly, my parents paid for my vacations with them for a long time (because they could), so I'm not with the others on saying you have to pay because you are 21. BUT, a vacation is not an entitlement, so using your student loan money is your choice, not something you HAD to do.

I also wonder about you "moving back home permanently" at 21 - do you mean their town, or do you plan to move into their home? If I were him, I would object to that.  No need for a college-educated young person to live at home, except for brief periods until you get your life together.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

my stepdad was a lot the same. He was aggressively angry that other people had advantages or luxuries that he didn’t. He was lazy, abusive, alcoholic and used any excuse at all to take something valuable from me because he hated that I had privilege. He took my diary, my Walkman, my treasure box and when he ran out of physical things to take, he removed the door to my room to take my privacy and dignity. I was routinely denied outings with friends and my mom would instruct me not to tell him if she allowed me to go to the mall or to the skating rink. Why would he even care? She was my parent, paid 75% of the bills and my dad paid an exorbitant amount of child support. There was no reason for me to miss out on girl things at 12. But my mom allowed it because she was mentally ill and had a skewed perspective. 

Is your stepdad also an angry man? Bitter, envious, vindictive? 


Maria10's picture

I am so sorry! That is so abusive! 

It pains me to see that people like that exist!


SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I’m just glad it happened to me and not another kid. I had a supportive family who kept a close eye on the shenanigans and inherited my dad’s unflappability. It could have been my stepdads kids (he abandoned them to get out of paying child support, their stepdad adopted them) or the second child that my mom so desperately wanted (and never had). I would have liked a brother or sister but still, 25 years later, sometimes find myself dizzy with relief that my baby sibling didn’t have to suffer all of that.

ybarra357's picture

Same here.

My SF was a horrible person.  He was jailed for not paying CS for his FIRST set of kids and never paid CS for his SECOND set of kids either – he had a total of 8 kids (that we know of) and he never supported ANY of them.  He visited with his younger kids a few times, then disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.  He was physically abusive and never faithful to my mother.  I too, got permission from my mother to go to a friend’s house and he would actually show up there and order me home immediately.  When I got home I got viciously beat with a tree branch.  He would also kick me, hard, with his big boots. Yet, he claimed to be SO religious, ran his mouth about how he went to church twice day. This monster would place himself in situations where he could prey on victims – as most abusers do.  UGH makes my skin crawl to think about him.  Glad he’s dead (and I don’t say that lightly) and isn’t able to abuse anyone else.  It is my understanding, that he basically died alone.  It’s hard to admit, but my mother went along with this for years, and didn’t protect me.  My biofather also has culpability here too, but he didn’t care.  He was just as useless. 

justmakingthebest's picture

I have a few questions...

How long had your mom been single? How involved in your life is your dad? Are you an only child? 

I will say that based on the time line you mom may have settled for kind of a jerk in order to not be an "empty nester" alone. 

It's not uncommon for recent graduates to need a few months to secure good employment after graduating. I don't see an issue with moving home for a little while until you get that job that you have been working hard for. As long as you give, not only yourself, but your mom and stepdad a timeline of when you will get out on your own, one way or another. 

I am sorry that you have to deal with him being a jerk. Sounds like there is a serious reason that he was single and kid-less before your mom came along.

ctnmom's picture

My stepfather hated (hates) me too. I was a straight a student, good Catholic girl, I've been employed since the age of 12 ( yes, TWELVE, not a typo), I think he's just always wanted me out of the way so he can Svengali my weak mother. The best advice I can give you is to go and make your own way in the world. I left at (barely) 18 , married at 19 and still married, it was a struggle but I made it. When you're in town, stay with a friend or relative and meet your mom for brunch. It is what it is and if your mom is weak and man centered she will always take "his side".  

2Tired4Drama's picture

I've been on STalk for many years and in my experience, posts like this don't belong here.  They are usually attempts to "stir the pot," present the poster in a positive light, and see how much reaction they can get - the more posts, the more the poster feels satisfaction and/or vindication.   A skid (no matter how old) trying to get advice (in their favor) from a stepPARENTS forum is like a parent going to a child/teen/adult kid forum and seeking advice to bolster their parenting style.  

Not biting on this one - although I could offer the OP a lot of advice similar to what a few others have stated above.  First and foremost, what in the world are you going to university for if you plan to "move home permanently" once your education is complete - isn't the fundamental goal of an education to be able to get a job and be SELF SUPPORTING?  

Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised if the OP never posts back here either - that often happens with the posts from skids themselves.  

Maria10's picture

1. If the holidays with your mom are a thing you two do to share special time since you were little. then I understand why she would pay. It should be solely her decision to ask you to pay half or not.( since he came into your lives when the ritual of a yearly special bonding vacation already had been well established and ONLY in this instance)  I find the solution of mom taking separate vacations with each of you a fair one. He can only ask you to pay your way on the vacations he pays for as you are an adult.

2. The overnight trip where he kept whining that hes lonely etc. Is inappropriate. He is a grown man acting like a needy child. It is concerning.

If my DH went to visit his child at college overnight Id tell him to take his time. Funnight for me!

3. Have you tried to get to know him? Take him to lunch or invite him to a sports game. It sounds like both of you are assuming things about eachother. At the very least I would want to know some things about the man who lives with my mother.

4. Agree with all posters that you should launch. Start going places with friends and upon graduation move to your own place. Mom can come visit your place.

5. I think this is the perfect forum. A lot of us were stepkids before we were step parents. We could/do have perspective from both sides. It is not wrong to consider the issue from all sides.

Tara456's picture

I could write this as if it were SKs writing this. I'll pick just one:

I've spent the last 2 years living with my Dad and SM after I decided at the last minute not to go to uni and demanded I live with them rent free. When I'm home, it makes everyone miserable. I'll be finally going off at the end of this year but am expecting to come back whenever I want and live off the income of 4 adults (BM+SF, BF+SM) whilst I'm studying, live in the best student accommodation and still buy multiple pairs of designer trainers every few weeks. I am dreading the time I come back to either home and the only way I can cope is to drift from home to home after I have fallen out with someone or it's in my interest to go to the other house until I get what I want at any point in time (the correct food I demand, a loan, forms filling in, more money, connections).

SM refuses to go on holiday with me. I'll ignore the fact that I ruined the holiday when we first went away together, that I caused a rift in the family that hasn't healed to this day, that I nearly drove my SM to a breakdown with my behaviour, that I never apologised, that my SM's stomach tightens every time I enter a room, that my SM has to walk outside the house and take deep breaths each time I begin my suffocating speeches on what I want, how everything should be organised according to my demands, and speak down to BF. That my SF shuts himself away in his home office and can't bear to be near me. That I nearly had a fight with my SF after he defended my BM against me. That when my BF defended my SM against me after I verbally attacked her as soon as my BF's back was turned, I made sure I'd do everything under the sun to destroy them. I'll keep quiet about all of that. I'll just say my SM refuses to go on holiday with me.

Despite both SPs standing by infuriated that my BM and BF still pay for my holidays, they've started to ask me to contribute to things, and I actually think they might even expect me to pay for a holiday myself. Of course this is inconceivable.I wanted a car recently, it was above my budget, but after I explained there was no point getting a car that wasn't my dream car, the parents caved in and I got what I wanted. I resent the time SM and BF spend together, even when I am sitting non stop in front of the play station all weekend, they go off and have a good time. This is not normal surely. I haven't got any conversation, I only want money from my BF, I have treated everyone terribly, and I storm out of rooms if ever the conversation isn't going my way, but I still expect him to spend time with me without her being around.

I expect to have a social life and that costs money. So I fully expect my parents to fund music festivals, train journeys, and have huge amounts of money given to me for birthdays and christmas. I don't know why SM doesn't seem to be very enthusiastic each time I buy £400 trainers which I keep saying are an "investment" but which I wear and kick off dirty. Just because they buy economically and save up for things, and I don't contribute anything to the house, she's just jealous obviously. After I messed my BF around again and again asking him to set aside a day for me at a weekends to look for cars, and repeatedly failing to get out of bed, or organising something else and ruining their weekend, I cannot understand at all why SM was peeved when at the last minute BF cancelled another day with her to spend with me. I mean, it's just one day!!!

Usually I roll my eyes whenever they talk about the sponging generation, or suggest I make up my mind what to do, or let them know if I intend on living here. When they talk about WWII young heroes of 17 year old on Remembrance Day, I make quips that it's so boring and there's nothing great about them, they just did what they were told to do, and walk out the room.  I can't understand why there's an uncomfortable atmosphere in the room each time I enter a room and proceed to tell everyone how great I am, and how much better than all my peers I am and what a bunch of losers adults are.  At Christmas, I can't believe SM actually was surprised none of us SKs had given her a card, let alone any present.  And can you believe she actually expected us to help with the dinner preparations? And even clear up? We left her in the kitchen and made sure we weren't around such negative energy. It's not normal is it?

I can't think of anything I've done to upset her.  I just try to be nice and sociable, and do whatever I want, when I want. I'm really quite an incredible young man, as I keep telling everyone.  Sometimes all their plans are ruined but that's just because I am running late or decide to do something and make my BF late, but what does that matter, it's just an evening!  Basically, what have I done wrong? I use this line a lot when everyone around me throws their hands up in disgust, or storm out of rooms, or says something to me I don't like. If I try and look like a little wounded boy and turn to my BF in a pleading, innocent way when I say it I have found that to be particularly effective.

Something has to change before I decide to sponge off them permanently. In fact, I said precisely this before I demanded I live with them, but I don't know how to make this better because I'm just perfection incarnate.

I'd appreciate any money or compliements you have.


TexasPickles's picture

This. Exactly. I'm not saying OP is a troll, but her entitlement is through the roof.

Get a job. Pay for your own vacations. Move out or quit whining. This isn't about your SF. It is about your unwillingness to adult. 

elkclan's picture

Here's some advice my dad gave to me a long time ago. NEVER borrow money to go on holiday/vacation. If you can't afford to pay cash or pay it off in a month, don't go. Seriously don't go. Do not use your student loan on this. I disagree with others here, if you are 21 and in full time education and your mom wants to go away with you - it's for her to pay the lion's share. It's definitely not for you to go into debt to travel with your mom. Holidays are a luxury and not a necessity. 

I'm only two years into my relationship with a man with kids, so yeah I don't LOVE it when he has to go away to spend time with his kids without me. But I'll survive. I think it makes it easier because I do have a son myself, so I do understand.

Let me say this though - my mom remarried at about this point in my life and it's super hard. My SF also said a bunch of stuff that was just plain hurtful and rude and frankly wrong, but I had little understanding of the impact of my behaviour on him, too.  Just give him a wide berth. Don't plan to move back in with them. Make other plans. Over time you may find that you have a different relationship with him as you become a proper working adult. 

This is one of the suckiest things about divorce/re-marriage at this age. If you're from a middle-class intact family you have two parents pulling for you financially and emotionally. If your parents remarry you often have a parent trying to help you get established and their partner who has (legitimate) interests in a completly different direction. I'm sorry, but your mom's home is not your home anymore. Frankly your SF sounds like a jerk. But that's the way it is. 

Wilhelm's picture

Something a young , proud disabled lad said to me as he served me at the checkout. Dad told me , “Your 18 now son, I have paid to have you educated you take it from here!”

21 pays all their own expenses.

Rags's picture

Your step father is an ass.  From what you have shared, that appears to be the case anyway.

The good news is that you are nearly done with Uni and can launch without having to expose yourself to his idiocy for long.

Once you have a job and are in your own place then you can start giving your mother clarity on the fact that she married an immature vindictive asshole.  My concern is more for your mom than for you in this situation.  You are going to start your own life adventure as a full fledged adult soon.   I hope your mom gains clarity on this toxic ass she is married to.

At least that is how I see him based on your original post.

Congratulations on finishing school.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

some don’t ever gain clarity.. some women have it from the beginning and turn the other cheek so many times their head screws completely off, even at the expense of their children. 

Jojab1636's picture

I can see both sides of the money issue.  I would have to say that at age 21 you should take care of your part of the holiday expense.  I would not take out loans to do so, however.  I have two bio boys - love them to death.  After re-marrying I have gained two step daughters, 26 and 29.  That is their bio age - not maturity level.  I am all for helping people when in need BUT at the age they are I feel that it is disrespectful of them to expect their Dad to still pay their cell phone, car insurance, car payments and extra spending money.  Shame on them for thinking that is okay.  But, shame on my husband for not also putting his foot down and saying "no" to the expenses.  Their Dad paid these expenses from day one but he needs to draw the line very soon I would think.  I think it is important for them, as females, to start taking care of themselves and not be dependant on others.  

When I remarried, I was so excited to have girls in the family.  Boy, was I wrong.  They say and do the meanest things I would never say or do to anyone.  For your SF to say what he did when he did was wrong, in my book.  He just shouldn't have said anything at all.  To me it sounds like he was intentially leaving you out of the equation or trying to make a point.  Been there, done that. I could see where one might think he may not have wanted to make you feel lncomfortable but I don't think so.  Because of how my SD's have treated me I have disengaged.  I did not go to TX with my husband when he went to visit his 26 year old daughter.  She has said that I ruin her vacation when I go.  Little does she know it goes both ways.  My husband refused to fly when he wanted to visit and I did not want him driving 13 hours by himslef.  That is why I went on the last visit.  It was for him.  She was soooo awful to me that I told him I would never do it again.    

It isn't the way I wanted it in the beginning but it is the healthiest thing I can do.  So, from the SD's perspective, I am sure they feel like I don't want them around.  It wasn't always that way.  I just have more pride in myself to know that I don't deserve their awful treatment.  I have been told I am not family, I am not considered their bio-family and how dare I try and drive a wedge between their family.  When they come over, my stomach get upset, I don't like it when they come over only because they are not nice and say awful things.  I prefer to stay away from their negative ways.  Maybe that is what you do to your SF. Create your own happiness without him.  If he makes you feel like you are not wanted there, then go be with those that do.  You will be much more happy!

I would be a little worried about your Mom, however.  It is good that she continues to spend time with you regardless of what SF says.  I just hope he isn't trying to control every aspect of her life.  He almost sounds jealous.  

It is not easy - I wish you the best!


ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

So the holiday thing. Starting at 18 I was on my own for them. If I went on one, I had to save up myself. I honeslty haven't been on one with my parents since graduating high school. So I get you funding your own way. I don't think you should have taken out student loans. If you can't afford a holiday, tough noogies, you don't go on a holiday. 

They are newly weds. Not every holiday should involve you. If they can only afford one a year, then it makes sense that they might want it to be just them. I don't think he should be refusing to go on holiday with you. But frankly, even DH and I try and get away every so often just us two. And we're full time raising the girls. Plus you're 21. I didn't even get invited on vacations after graduating. Because I was an adult. 

If you're dreading moving home. Maybe don't? Get a job and find your own little place. Start saving now.

I agree that the "not family" comment was uncalled for. That's just rude and disrespectful. Your mom should have mentioned something to him about that.

Honestly I see all this as give and take. I think your mom needs to stand up for you with his behavior. He needs to stop whining. No one should be treated poorly. And that you do need to drop the entitlement. Neither side is really right in this situation imho.