Step daughter driving us apart...please help :(
Hi, I am new to the forum and am desperately seeking some help, I literally do not know where to turn.
My husband and I have been together 7 years. He has three children from his previous marriage, and we have two together.
We went through many years of aggravation with the eldest (from being 15-20), including times when she would curse at me, disrespect me, and even tried to attack me with a glass bowl in front of the other children. The worst thing she ever did was to scream at me on the day of my father's terminal cancer diagnosis, and tell me that she was glad he was going to die...that along with the awful messages she sent me on the day of his death, asserting her happiness. It took so long for my husband to see what she was really like, it nearly tore our marriage and family apart. I made it very clear to my husband at the time, that I would not go through this again with any of the children.
However his youngest, now 12, has been growing progressively more unruly for 6 years. She gets little or no discipline from either my husband or her mother. She has hit my children and threatened them to keep it secret, she has locked them in a room with her and taught them swear words about me, she ignores me most of the time and flowers at me when she isn't ignoring me. I am a teacher so I am at home with her in the holidays, she is a real moody little cow all day and then literally changes her mood as soon as my husband walks in. This usually revolves around pretending that she is ill and that I have been force feeding her etc...its absolute rubbish! She will not allow me to come anywhere near my husband, she will push me off pavements when we are walking along, if I get up to make a cup of tea in the evening and she thinks I am going to sit down next to her dad on the sofa she will shove me. At Christmas, we got on an underground train and I sat next to him because it was the only free seat - she jumped up and punched me hard enough for it to hurt for a week and give me a bruise. Then she turned her puppy dog eyes on my partner when I told her off, saying "Daddy, I was only trying to play with her, why is she upsetting me and telling me off". Of course, he took her side and I got the full force of the discipline which should have gone her way.
Last week she locked my children in a room with her and was calling me a 'dickhead'. I have literally raised this girl from the age of five as a mother, including when her own mum wasn't interested. I asked my husband to speak with her about this and he didn't. Last night it turned into a massive argument between us and I accused him of being afraid to discipline his children.
I literally cannot live like this anymore. I love my husband and he is a good man, he just gives his children EVERYTHING because he is afraid they will go to their mum if he doesn't bend. With our younger children he is happy to dole out discipline and chores, and they are basically good kids. I don't want to leave him and break up the family but this is seriously damaging my health (I get headaches and palpitations even when I know she will be at home and I dread school holidays).
Please please please can someone give me some advice about how I can turn this around? As I say, I'm a teacher and used to awkward teens and behaviour management, but having to deal with the violence and volatility in my own family is just too much for me.
Thank you in advance.