SD acts tortured to be in our house & I take it too personally
I've been looking through these forums on disengagement because I've decided that's my best option. I have 2 of my own awesome sons (16 & 12) and I'm about to marry my fiancé who has 2 of my soon to be SKs a SS(17) & SD(12). SS is a sweet heart to me, & my sons are kind enough and respectful to my fiancé. We have all been living together for 5 years and we are get married this July. My fiancé and I knew each other before & were living in the same community when we had young families & were both married to other people. We both divorced and truly & honestly came together emotionally/physically only after our marriages were over, but our exes likely question this simply because we knew each other as friends before. We were both in toxic relationships that our exes never took any accountability for because we initiated the divorces.
I'm a school teacher and high school guidance counselor and soccer coach and bottom line is that I love kids. My relationships with kids have always been easy and fun. I have a lot of skills in interpersonal relationships and child development. I am a kid counselor! This is why my SD's attitude towards me and our household is so hurtful. I can't seem to fix it or make it improve even incrementally.
I have done everything I can over the past 5 years we have been a blended family living together to be fun and supportive and caring to my SD. I've gone to softball games, baked cookies, played catch, bought everything spelled out in her Xmas list, taught her to downhill ski, and the list goes on, but my SD stil acts tortured when she transitions to our house. She is nice to me one day and the next doesn't come out of her room and texts with her mom (codependent single mom with a victim complex), all day. There is no pattern, it just swings back and forth between ok and awful with every transition. Like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get with my SD. I can't help but take it really personally only because the attitude when it is bad, despite having done nothing to her, is directed at me, her Dad, or our new family/my kids. The kids even all get along well! When it is good with her it is usually because there is a benefit in the moment when she is with us & she is getting something like material things or opportunities to do fun stuff. I feel like were always giving giving giving her things without any genuine relationship reciprocated. She still has the gumption to ask for things from me and my family...an Apple Watch from my parents for Xmas. They are so nice & obliged! Still she is moody and I fear also not genuine. My parents heard her make fun of them to her friend when she didn't realize they were still in the room.
I feel incredibly bad for my fiancé because he is such an awesome Dad. He runs around doing everything for her, tucking her into bed multiple times in the middle of the night (she's 12!) and giving in to her every need. All he wants is for her to be ok and for her not to be moody and rude to anyone-- we both have extremely low expectations for her, we just want her to be nice in the house and not miserable so that we can all enjoy our lives. Still...she acts like she just wants to be at her moms. She spends hours texting with her mother while she's with us. She mopes around.
I am thinking that if she decides to live with her mom full time and not come to our house it will break his heart. At the same time, it is no fun to be such a failure of a SM in my own house. This 12 year old is occupying too much of my adult headspace. Please tell me how to disengage when I have such low expectations anyway....it is so bad that I have feared our upcoming nuptials because I will officially be her SM. My mom tells me I try to hard, I need to just pity her and disengage. My fiancé put her on depression meds which I even question because they don't seem to help, she still posts attention getting motivational memes about staying positive when things are just the worst (but she is always Debbie downer in reality). I wonder if her living at our house is ruining her life and ours because she sets the tone. I'm so sad because I so wanted her to be the daughter I never had. I feel like she's missing the opportunity to have a fun friend in me that cares. I'm not trying to be her mom, she has one!
It probably isn't even me -- it is probably more that she is her mom's copilot/friend at her other house but with us she is a kid part of a new family where the adults call the shots and have an adult relationship. Is it the transition to a new dynamic in our house or me failing as a SM? I'm at wits end & starting to lash out at my loving fiancé simply because she is his and she seems to be causing such unnecessary turmoil...