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stepdaughter is nice to everyone but us

tryingmybest2008's picture

This is my first time posting.  A little background: My husband divorced his ex in 2006 after she had an affair (my 18yo stepdaughter has no idea about the affair).  I met my husband in 2007 and we married in 2008.  I have an 18 yo stepdaughter and an 8yo bio son.  When my husband and the bio mom divorced they agreed not to do the following:  1) bad mouth each other, 2) disclose the affair to their daughter, and to not introduce the any significant others to their daughter unless the relationship was heading towards marriage.  My husband followed all the rules.  The bio mom only follwed one, not to disclose the affair.   In the last 10 years, she has married again, divorced again and has been engaged twice, all to different men.  She does have a lucrative career but is irresponsible with money and recently has declared bankruptcy.  The bio mom has bad mouthed us from the beginning, given us advice that actually hurt our relationship with the skid, and consistently told us how she is the best role model for her daugher and she is a "rock star" in her eyes.  All throughout these past 10 years, we have sought professional help on how to deal with the bio mom and her attempt to alienate us from the skid. We keep getting the same response "Be patient, take the high road, one day the skid will figure it out".  Now the skid is 18 and hasn't figured out!!!!  The divorce stated that all costs will be split equally.  The bio mom started giving us so much grief and ramping up the bad mouthing 5 years ago that we just started paying for everything.  We have paid for everything for 5 years, sending the skid to college debt free, helped her to purchase a car, ect....While the bio mom is out living it up, racking up bills/boyfriends, declaring bankruptcy, and stuggles with binge drinking at times.  Meanwhile we stick to the advice of the professionals and never point out any of the above behavior.  Yet, my skid prefers to stay at her mom's, calls her the most inspirational person in her life and a role model. This hurts my husband.  Especially when he has tried everything to build a strong relationship with his daughter.  She hasn't like me since her mom started the badmouthing shortly after the wedding.  I am the one who pays half of her expenses and tended to all of the "mom" duties, while her mom played the part of her best friend.  I have to say in my skids defense, she is a naturally sweet, kind, brilliant and generous person.  Unfortunately, she is like that with everyone but her father, myself, and her 8 year old brother.  She's never unkind or disrespectful to us, just dismissive and won't respond to any of our attempts to build a solid relationship with her. 

Any advice?  

tryingmybest2008's picture

SD is graduating this year, not only are we paying for all of the college expenses, we are thowing a grad party, not just for our side, both sides together because that's what the SD would like.  She feels weird about double events.  We get it, so we agreed.  We did all the planning, prep and are paying for everything because once again, bio mom is too broke.  Yesterday, SD posted all over social media how great her mom is (which we understand) and I didn't even get a text.  My husband was devastated.  Too be honest, so was I.  I tried to tell myself it didn't matter, but it did. 

tryingmybest2008's picture

I can't thank you enough for responding. No one in my circle understands what we are going through.  I'm sorry that your SD is almost 30 and still behaving the same way.  I pray every day that things will improve.  My 8yo bio son adores his older sister and for his sake, I am still trying regularly to create a relationship.  We have talked about all of us going to family counseling and she'll ask why, when we tell her, she says stuff like "This is news to me" and said that there isn't a problem.  It's obvious there is a problem.  BM and her former stepdad, former mom's boyfriends have confirmed it.  She is fiercely loyal to her mother, (no one knows why, even her aunt on her BM's side) and acts like any relationship with us would be too awful to endure.


tryingmybest2008's picture

Unlike your SD Evil3, my SD is truly kind to others.  We have witnessed her showing incredible kindness, empathy and compassion to family members on her BM side, her friends and neighbors.  In some ways, I wish it was an act like your SD's.  Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if it was just an act, not outwardly rejecting us?   I am resentful everytime someone mentions to me how lucky I am to have such a sweet and thoughtful SD. I want to scream, she's not like that to us!!!!!

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

Your description of BM and SD could be my life - except the time frames are different and BM is skint. I have had constant abuse from both - from when I met my STBXH right up until around a month ago.

It is hard to deal with the unfairness, the hurt of what they throw at you for no reason other  than to accept that they are damaged people. My SD will NEVER come around and see the error of her ways.

In your case, it is her loss that she doesnt have a relationship with your family. Relationships are a two way street and if she doesnt want with you, leave it be. Make peace with it and concentrate on the relationships you do have. People put so much effort into chasing the one elusive thing,  that they neglect to appreciate what they do have. 

tryingmybest2008's picture

Thank you. I never thought of it that way.  I have been chasing her for 10 years because as a "good stepmom" , I thought it was my duty and because I don't want her to reject my husband and her 8yo brother just because of me. 

Rags's picture

The Skid is 18 and ostensibly is an adult.  Time for her to have the facts.  Including BM's whoring ways.  Those facts do matter whether the parents want to keep them a secret or not.  Think how being aware of the facts, in an age appropriate manner, may have influenced this kid and how she dealt with her father, with you and even with her own mother.

So... over the years we kept SS-25 abreast of the facts (in an age appropriate manner) of his existence, his SpermIdiot's behaviors, and the lies and manipulations of his SpermClan.  Our intent was to give him the ability to protect himself from their manipulations while on SpermClan visitation and as he transitioned into adulthood.  As an adult he has thanked his mom and I regularly for that over the years.

His mom and I met when he was 15mos old and married the week before he turned 2yo.  For a number of years we worked our butts off to counter the toxicity of the SpermClan and to insulate SS from as much of the situation as we could.  Finally, when he was about 8 we started seasoning him with the facts from the perspective that facts are neither good not bad, they are merely facts.  From then on he started honing his ability to determine when the SpermClan behaviors passed the smell test and when they didn't.   Instead of coming home mad at us due to the manipulation of his SpermClan because we were "taking food out of the mouths" of his three younger also out of wedlock SpermIdiot spawned half sibs he started comming home and asking questions. Eventually when he was in his mid-ish teens he started digging into our office filing cabinets reviewing the CO, court records, notes, court recordings, etc, etc, etc... and asking substantial questions.

He was able to shut down the SpermClan manipulations towards him and keep them in line for the last few years we all lived under the Custody/Visitation/Support order.  He had watched his mom and I do the same thing for nearly his whole life.  We made it a point to not bad mouth them or deny him time with that part of his family but we also remained focused on his best interests and protecting him as much as we could from their toxic manipulative toothless moron crap.

tryingmybest2008's picture

I would like to get all the facts out into the open.  However, my husband wants to take the advice of the family therapists that we have seen over the years. All of them have said that when she is old enough to see her mother for what she really is. she will either face reality or deny the truth.  All of them said that by telling her, we risk further alienation due to her fierce loyalty to her mother.  She may kind of know the truth but may not want to face it and by making her face, may make things worse.  I like how you leveled with your SKID.  I wish we could.  If I am the only one telling her these things, she will think it's out of spite.  The BM will tell her, I wish you had a better relationship over there but then sabatoge every opportunity for closeness.  It's sooooo frustrating!!!!

tryingmybest2008's picture

I am going to try to stop chasing today.  If she notices great, if not, at least I won't feel so rejected.  One more hurdle/unavoidable rejection, we have to get through the grad party with the BM.  SD will make a big deal about her mom and ignore us (it's happend before).  At least we know what to expect.  I feel terrible for saying so, but I can't wait for her to leave for school.  Counting down the days. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Can you name any other type of relationship where you would be expected to accept (and fund) mistreatment? Presumably child support stops at 18, so stop putting your funds towards your husband's daughter's wants and needs. Let her now debt free mother pay for her college, and don't be afraid provide your SD with clarity as to who's been footing all the bills.

Listening to these therapists has gotten you exactly nowhere. Focus on your marriage, your bio child, and saving for his future. Chasing and coddling this girl has done nothing to endear her to you and your DH, nor has enabling BM's fiscal irresponsibility.

Rags's picture

The 10 years of stability and the solid example of an equity life partner adult relationship between two people of character that you and your DH represent sets the tone for the "facts" conversation perfectly.

SD-18 needs to be told that her toxic behaviors are done and will no longer be tolerated. She is ostensibly an adult and should be held accountable for her actions as an adult.

It really is time for this baby girl/woman to be presented with the complete, total unequivocal facts of the manipulations she has been targeted with by her characterless mother.

IMHO of course.

Continuing to do the same things that have failed miserably for the past 12-ish years is just stupidity in practice.  While I agree with your therapist's advice to "take the high road" I completely disagree that the kid will "figure it out".  That won't happen unless the kid is served the facts on a gourmet plate.  Full, flavorful, clear and truthful fact.  It may taste bad but it is never wrong.  The high road IMHO is to not bad mouth or perpetrate PAS against a kid and the other parent.  The foundation of the high road is the truth, fact and clarity on the entire situation.

To minimize the risk of appearing to be vindictive, I suggest that SD-18 be given access to the full CO, divorce agreement, and court records outlining BM's infidelity that invariably was presented to the courts during the divorce.  No comment is necessary except to answer any questions she may have as she learns from the official record.  Any questions she has must be answered without rancor, with the truth and facts, and in an unembellished manner.  Only then can this kid progress through adulthood with clarity regarding her childhood and her relationships with her parents.

Good luck.