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Struggling with step daughter

ElleJay07's picture

Hi all,

I've been with my parter for 5 years, married for 2. (Wish I hadn't got married to him right now...) His duaghter is 10 my son is 14. His daughter lives with us half the week and her mum half the week. He would say her mum (the ex wife) is an extreme manipulator - I would agree given her behaviours over the years.

Issue is step daughter misses mum like crazy when she's with us, she's miserable, gets upset if we try to make decsiions as a family that she doesn't like, she's always miserable on holiday we go on, until the end of the holiday when sh'es coutning down the days to see mum.

It's getting to the point where her misrable moods and contsantly tears every night over missing her mum is affetcing the whole family. Mu husabdn doesn't want to see his daughter any less or have her raised any more by the manipulative ex wife and I should be more adult and just tolerate the behaviours but it's really starting to get me down and I feel like I shut myslf away when the step duaghter is with us to avoid spending time with her. I have given so much to make sure SD is made to feel part of our family, is well supported by us, has a lovely bedroom as her own space in the house but she simply doesn't like being at our house and wishes she was with her Mum. 

I think Dad should let her live with mum and visit us and see how that goes but I also don't want to be the one to suggest this as I realise how precious time with your children is. It's an ongoing issue and I am consideirng moving out to a place just my son and I becuase I'm getting exhausted and pulled down by our blended family dynamics. 

Any advice or insight please?


Kes's picture

I think if you're at a point when you're considering moving out with your son, it would be better if you addressed the possibility of your SD staying with her BM more of the time.  My SD23 used to be exactly the same, at about the same age, and she only came to us every other weekend.  She and BM were/are unhealthily enmeshed, and she'd whine about missing her mother and from time to time DH would take her home early because of it.  If your DH and BM do decide that SD stays with her more of the time, it may change again in a few years when she's a bit more mature, and may even want to get away from her mother!  

ElleJay07's picture

Thank you. I've suggested this to my DH but he doesn't want any less time with his daughter and the BM has already said that when things get back to normal she'll need DH to have SD half the time because of her work commitments. It feels like such a mess and something I can't influence for fear of upsetting DH ...... 

I feel really helpless but like my life is controlled by his SD and her BM's needs 

Merry's picture

But it's ok for YOU to be upset? No, it isn't. In healthy and loving relationships, people discuss and work out their differences. One is not "afraid" of upsetting the other by discussing a difficult topic.

Do not give away your power just to keep the peace. It is not worth it.

ElleJay07's picture

Thank you to everyone who's taken the time to share their views .... I'm reading them all and finding this forum so helpful. I was reluctant to post on here but it's great to get some honest perspectives from people who understand blended family life! By the way what does 'OP' stand for?

Cover1W's picture

OSD started doing things like this in her pre-teen years and it just ramped up as she turned into a teen.  For OSD here, it's for sure an unhealthy dependence on BM which quickly turned to PAS and pretty soon she was gone for good with BM.  It should be clearly explained to her, yes, at age 10 that it's her dad's time, not mom's and the two homes are not the same - just like anywhere else in the world.  Dad should also be making time to spend with her specifically.  DH did not do this and started giving into OSD's wishes to spend more time with mom, never putting his foot down and that was not the answer - as he knows in retrospect.

When OSD was 15, DH decided to take her with us, in spite of almost no contact from her for a year, on a long trip to visit his family.  She told her aunt that she was soooooooo sad because she missed her mom so much after 3 days she wanted to go home (this was a 10 day trip overseas).  I mean, 15!  She also told her aunt she hadn't been away from her mom more than 1 night in a year and she liked that.  Unhealthy dependance.

ElleJay07's picture

Thank you for sharing your views. I'm new to this and not clear on all the abbreviations...what does  OSD and PAS stand for?

Ispofacto's picture

This level of dependence on her BM indicates an unhealthy enmeshment.  It seems likely that BM is making SD feel sorry for her or making SD worry about her.  SD is too old for this type of separation anxiety.

DH needs to develop a stronger bond with SD if he can.  It seems likely BM is PASing SD.


Rags's picture

This is exactly why kids do not get to participate in family decisions. The spouses make the decisions and the kids do what they are told.  

"Hey kids, we are going to DISNEY LAND!"  Rather than "Where do you want to go?"  This way, kids dont get the build up of thinking they get a say.

Just my thoughts of course.

My parents only asked me for input on a major family decisions one time that I recall.  When I was 14 we moved from the US back overseas.  We had been back in the States for 4 years.  My parents asked if I wanted to move back overseas.  I was excited about getting back to where I had grown up.  The reason why they asked what I wanted was that I would only be home for one more year then I would have to go to boarding school.  I understood that it was best for the family including my younger brother and my parents preparation for their retirement.  I have no doubt that if I had said I wanted to stay in the states that they would have told me to suck it up, explained why it was best for all of us to go back overseas. But... I was all in on heading back to the desert.

Welcome to the community by the way. I hope that you find it to be a good place to vent, contribute and to pick up some useful advice and perspectives from others who are living the blended family dream.

Take care of you.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

It sounds like one of your biggest issues is her behavior ruining vacations and activities.  One simple way to ease some of the tension, is have DH go on trips with his daughter and you plan your own separate ones for now. I learned my lesson  after taking SKs on a vacation.  Now I plan my trips just for me and DS, SO is always welcome to come. 

SO has my full blessing to take his kids anywhere at anytime. It's funny but he has yet to take me up on that offer.