SD causing me to have panic attacks
To give a bit of background, I have a blended family of three children. My own son is 8, and my step children are 11 (step son), and 9 (step daughter). My partner works away 7 days home and 7days away at a time, we have his children every week he is back - 12/14 days he is home. We have his children more often than we are able to spend time together.
My partner and I have been together for 5years, since my son was 3 and his children were 4 and 6. It's safe to say I have been in their lives longer than they can remember.
Recently my step daughter has become unbearable, it kills me to write this but I cannot take her behaviour any longer and have seriously considered leaving my partner to save my own mental health:
- She consistently bullies my son, gestures at him with her fists and has raised a knife at him previously, thinking the behaviour is amusing. Yet tells her father my son has hit her, this only happens when they are alone. I now ensure and constantly check when they are alone.
- She is defiant, ignores everything I tell her and goes as far as ramping up her behaviour when warned. When I discipline her (words only, I would not smack) she runs to her father with false and exaggerated tears which cause us to argue.
- She always has to be the centre of attention and will ensure the limelight is always on her by making excessive noise or interrupting should someone else have even the smallest amount of attention.
- She follows her father around the house continuously., for example, he will go to the toilet and she will run to the hallway to wait for him to finish. Should he leave the house temporarily she will choose that moment to push my buttons. This leads to arguments, though my partner thinks it's a coincidence she plays up when he leaves and nothing to do with her causing trouble.
- She does not sleep and wakes me up throughout the night opening the fridge and walking around, no matter how often I put her back to bed. I have not been able to get a full nights sleep while they are with us for many months now.
My partner is lapse on discipline as he and his ex wife separated when she was very young. In addition her mother has gone through a string of boyfriends and has quickly introduced the children to numerous men, allowing them to form attachments before the relationship fails a small amount of time later. Her most recent separation was only a few months ago and I have no doubt this may be a cause of my step daughters behaviour, though my step son does not seem to have any behavioural issues outside of the normal pre teen occasional attitude.
I have suggested to my partner that my step daughter see a doctor regarding her sleep and constant need for attention, he does not agree but has previously told me of his concern that she may have inherited a bipolar disorder from her mother. He now refuses to acknowledge he ever suggested this.
I have begun to have panic attacks just anticipating her return to our home, my continuous attempts to disclipline my step daughter and the stress it is causing me has caused arguments between my partner and I - I am unable to hide my strain or pretend. Has anyone else successfully fixed a similar situation?