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Dislike Step Daughter, want these feelings to go away

JustGettingUsedToThis's picture

It's a little surreal to admit this but in a few weeks, I will be starting therapy mainly to talk about my step daughter. I have two biological children and four bonus kids (three teenagers and one 8 year old). It is the 8 year old I am having issues with. I've known her since she was 3 years old. I did not dislike her at first. All of his children are mostly well behaved, intelligent kids; there wasn't really anything to dislike but she was also just three years old. As time has gone on, I just can't stand the girl. I've tried journaling about it, I've tried connecting with her and forming a bond over things we have in common, I've tried positive thinking and imagining us getting along in the future. I've tried to make myself love her. I only love her in the sense that my husband would be crushed if anything ever happened to her and so I want her to be okay in every way.

I feel embarrassed to say this but everything about her, even the way she looks and her mannerisms, really bother me. She is a very awkward child and a few people have made the comment to me that she's not your "typical lovable, easy to like kid". Not that any of this is her fault.....I'm so embarrassed to say this but she's extremely unattractive, extremely obese, not cute in any way, with enormous horse teeth, and, well, I've made myself into a terrible person enough already. There are also other things about her not related to how she looks that are also not her fault but which bother me immensely. She's incredibly loud and her voice grates on my nerves. She is loud because she is the child of deaf parents. She has to speak loudly to communicate with them but they can also tune her out and not teach her to be quiet because they can't hear how loud she is being. Again this isn't her fault but I'm also not exaggerating. I often feel embarrassed to be in public with her because of how loud and obnoxious she is constantly.

I will admit that there are other things that have bothered me which were in our control and which my husband and I are working on. For example, she is his youngest child and he babies her BIG TIME. Until last year, he was still serving her dinner on a plastic baby plate, leaving all the lights on for her to sleep, washing her hair for her, etc. She's very immature in some ways but she's also highly intelligent so in other ways, she is mature.

Another thing that happened is that she seemed to go through a phase (I truly did not think it was a phase but it seems to have passed) where she knew she was smarter than anyone else and she said that, to me, and to my children, on several occasions. One time on a family hike, she said to my children, "I may be younger than you but I'm smarter than anyone else here." She truly is an intelligent child and has also had a great education but both her mother and my husband have, I think, taught her that she is somehow better for being smarter and it wasn't until that incident I just described that they thought there might be a problem with this. There's nothing wrong with being smart. There is something wrong with treating other people like crap because you think you're smarter than them.

Now that I have explained where some of my feelings come from, and I'm legitimately ashamed of feeling this way, I feel like I have to add how this affects us on a daily basis. I have to admit that at dinner last night, I had a hard time hiding my disgust. Dad gives her a plate bigger than his teenagers eat, then she wants more. I admit, I made a comment when she went to get her third plate of food. I said, "Wow, I think maybe just the green beans, you've had enough pasta. Aren't you full?" So my point is that no matter how hard I try, these feelings are going to slip through and it is going to hurt everyone.

I don't want to be the cause of any pain in our already blended family. I most certainly don't want to make her feel unloved, insecure, or any of the other issues that could come from having an unloving parent/step parent.

In my defense, I'm not a cold hearted or disgusting human being. The other day, I accidentally opened our backdoor too fast and it hit her in the face. Thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. But at the time, I dropped an entire plate of steaks from the grill because I was more worried about her. I immediately hugged her and made sure she was okay. I legitimately felt scared and guilty that I had hurt her. (She was ok, not even a scratch) So it's not like I just hate this child and want bad things for her. She is the flesh and blood of the man I want to spend my life with and think the world of so I know there is a lot in her that I could love as well. Most of the time, I don't even understand my feelings towards her or why it's just her and not the other kids as well. Guess I just needed to get this out.

furkidsforme's picture

Sueu2, I'm normally right along there with you, but I fail to see the green bean comment as passive aggressive or abusive. The kid had had three helpings. No bio parent would be crucified by commenting that their child was probably full and had enough to eat for that meal.

On your thought process, I must have been "abused" by my Mom telling me to get my hand out of the cookie jar or I would ruin my dinner.

I don't see anything wrong with what she said, other than it has been placed under the microscope of SM Inspection.

Monchichi's picture

As the above posters have said. A possible way to help her "tone down" is to say calmly and gently " relax honey, we are right next to you". It works well with my oldest. Calm and gentle. This is an awkward age and they eat like they are starved. Food can also be a comfort for a deeper problem.

I love the idea of a shared dance/ swim/ cycle session.

Rags's picture

Try The Seven Habbits of Highly Effective People. That was a key for me when it came to living my commitment to my bride, my skid, my career, and to myself.

Particularly a short chapter where Covey recounts a conversation he had with one of the attendees of a seminar he was speaking at. The man approached Covey during a break and said "I don't love my wife." Covey replied .... "Then love her." The man went into a recount of his lack of feelings of love for his wife and Covey told him that "Love is a verb not a noun. It is action, not a feeling." or somethign along those lines. The message was that if you take the actions of love the feelings will result.

I found this to be absolutely true. A couple of years into our marriage (to my incredible, beautiful, scary smart, wickedly sexy bride) I was foundering in my feelings of love. Then I got that book. It hit home for me. I changed my passwords at work to some variant of her name, or an event in our lives together, etc... I started emailing her several times a day, calling her when I could, I had pics of us, her, our son (my SKid), etc... in my cubicle or office, I started writing in "Random Flowers" in my planner on ramdomly selected days and having them delivered or bringing them to her at lunch time or in the evenings after work, I started scheduling in my planner dinner dates, these I did not tell her about, I just did it, I would occasionally schedule a sitter, a limo, etc... and when the driver would ring the door bell I would tell her to answer it, give her 5mins to walk out the door, and off we would go. This worked. The actions of love built the feelings.

So, with your youngest Skid take the actions of liking her and the feelings will grow. Rather than a mental shift, try a physical, activity shift. Do things that she likes, that you like, together. Don't give her a choice, like the Nike commercial says .... just do it.

It does not have to be anything huge, just consistent. It will not work all of the time but over time it will work more often than not.

Find a concept that interests you, apply it, take action and not just mental action, physical and behavioral action are more effective in my experience.

Good luck.

Take care of you.

Rags's picture

Give me time. No doubt that topic will resurface in my posts. Wink

Hey, it is the season of giving, peace, good will to man, etc, etc, etc..... Even I can catch a bit of that spirit. :? Smile

This thread was about changing how we feel about important people in our lifes. THEY are irrelevent in the relative scheme of things, and always have been. Suddenly I just got nauseous. :sick: JKOC

Wait, who are THEY and what were we talking about.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy your family during the holidays.

blayze's picture

LMAO @ the SM microscope. I'm guilty, but I do it with every child that I come in contact with...please don't send your children around me if you don't want them to be corrected. I'll be kind to your child, but I'm gonna speak up. Blum 3

The chunky little SD might want to lay off the pasta... for her health... to avoid being teased... because three helpings of pasta is not good for anyone.

WE as ADULTS can help with ALL the babies we encounter. Stepping in where the parents are blind isn't wrong. Our (SM) role doesn't mean that we have to sit back and watch train wrecks in our home. If we can help a kid, we should... even if we don't particularly care for the kid. And trust me, I get it -- as teachers, we're more effective when we care for the students. However, teachers can and do make a difference with kids that they can't stand!

OP cares enough to be around. She knows it's her man's baby. And she's also aware that the other FIVE kids don't drive her this nuts. Maybe this is her issue. Maybe the child's behavior reminds her of her own shadow behaviors. Maybe some self-reflection, introspection and therapy is required.

STILL...her opinion can influence the child for the child's own good!

The child is loud - which is an annoying behavior that can be fixed.
Fat - which can also be fixed.
And babied by her dad - which can be fixed as well.

It wouldn't be wise for OP to sit back and NOT speak up when she sees poor parenting. She loves her man and is trying to love his kids. She suggested that the kid get more green beans. That's not mean; it's teaching. It was also a comment that might have gotten the attention of the parent -- who is supposed to be parenting, so SM doesn't have to.

My friend and I have been friends since we were 10 or 11. I often slept over her house and her mother would make comments about my hair (cute, ugly, pretty, undone, whatever), weight (thin - need to eat) and my clothing. I listened to her advice because she was a parent. I saw her today and she loved up on my son like a family member. It's all good. The comments she made to me as a child were to HELP me. It takes a village to raise a child. I wasn't scarred by an adult opinion. An SM is just an adult with an opinion... and if you don't want the opinions of other adults, becoming a parent is probably a super bad idea.