ojykceb's picture

Adult step daughter, divide and conquer?

How do I recognize actual attempts by an adult step child to divide and conquer. Really, i have soooo many questions and situations and I am not really sure why i decided to start here. However, today, in an effort to save my otherwise amazing relationship I started researching my issues. I often feel crazy as a result of my situation but after today, I have learned I am not. I learned that people all over have the same experiences and I am happy to have found this website. I have felt extremely distrustful in the past and wondered if the SD is purposefully trying to pit us against each other. i would like to know what tactics are commonly used by adult steps to divide and conquer. i am trying to eliminate the paranoid thoughts that I have allowed myself to develop. Any help?

Totalybogus's picture

no two stepkids are alike.

no two stepkids are alike. Why don't you tell us some of the situations you are experiencing. Not only will it give us a basis to try to decifer your situation, but will be ve3ry theraputic for you as well.

ojykceb's picture

I was soooo disappointed. I

I was soooo disappointed. I waited up for what seemed like forever last night waiting for all of your answers. Today, I just logged in and it is like everyone of you KNOW what has been going on. What step aside describes, is exactly the experience I have had. They already have dad believing I am starting to lose it. Just hearing this from all of you almost makes the sitch tolerable as it is. The SD has done all of the things, ALL OF THEM tha STepAside described. As a result, I have stepped into the trap of successfully becoming the truly Wicked Stepmonster. My honey, bless his heart, loves us all. He seems to think that time will fix everything. I actually felt....a lot like not living this past week when everything came to a head for us. I have since been learning about invalidation and the damage it causes. I have learned I am not crazy and those of you on here, in just a matter of hours, have helped a lifetime. Thanks all of you. I have long ways to go, but I know I am headed in the right direction.

StepAside's picture

Since I have 3 amazingly

Since I have 3 amazingly skilled manipulating adult stepdaughters, I have a few things to add to the list.

- Secrecy. They thrive in it. They call him on his cell during work hours primarily. They never call our house. They only talk to him when I'm not in the room. I've heard OSD call him before when I was in the room, and I could hear her ask right off, "Is StepAside there?". As soon as he says yes, she says she'll talk to him later. The more they can manage to get DH to keep from me, the more success they feel they have.

- Emotional Blackmail. When they don't get what they want, they'll resort to it every time. They want to win at all costs. And when they don't, they naturally blame me. Many of the things they want from DH come at a cost to me and our kids as well. That's not a consideration when they are trying to pressure him. They use the same series of tactics pretty often. First they'll ask. Then they'll whine. Then they'll tell other family members, so that they'll intervene on their behalf. Then they'll berate him and blame me. Then when that doesn't work, they pull out the big guns. They'll tell him it's like he's not their father anymore and they'll avoid him. Or they'll threaten not to visit him. Or they'll stop coming around altogether. All of these tactics worked really well for most of their lives. But I think even my DH is finally growing tired of all their drama.

- Jealousy. I realize that they may have some insecurities from having their parents split 20 YEARS ago, but they really need to get over it. They've always been in competition with me for DH's attention. They've never recognized that he remarried. They do not respect my position as his wife. They all believe they are to be treated as princesses, or he can go to hell. That makes it terribly difficult to have normal relations with them when they are constantly trying to prove their value in his eyes. He rarely sees them, but in my presence they still may sit on his lap, call him "daddy", talk about the most personal stuff with him, bring up times when they were a family with BM, etc. Doesn't phase me anymore, but it's just tiring. Every time it happens, the only thing I want to yell is, "Get your own life please!!!" When someone has an agenda, you can not relax. It's not comfortable to be around someone who has one. When everyone is considerate of everyone else, only then is the relationship appealing. And they constantly make their presence unappealing.

- Gossip. If one of the adult children feels slighted, she'll tell every relative they have about it. By now, DH and I are the resident black sheep in his family. HA! They are the black sheep in MY family and I no longer care what they think of me. But this scenario plays out all the time! It's another way of putting pressure on DH to get what they want. But I certainly have not appreciated being maligned by them. And for many years, DH would occasionally question his loyalty to me and their attempts would work. That doesn't happen anymore, but when it did, I felt so betrayed.

LONGTIME SM's picture

My adult SS 35 and adult SD

My adult SS 35 and adult SD 33 still employ most of these same tactics and they are almost 10 years older than yours! Unbelievable! They display jealousy but it is more directed at our BDs than me! They openly ignore me in my own home, are deliberatley rude, or tell my husband ugly things about me - call names etc. The only real complaint that they have made about something I did to them was the fact that I spent more on Santa for BDs than I did on them as grown adults. Why they think that I would let BDs have less as minors in order to give their ungrateful rude selves more is beyond me! Besides, why would I use my money on anyone that was openly rude to me and that calls me names!

In my case SS is no differant than the SD! SS more than SD gossips with DH's entire family - even those that he can't stand in an attempt to alleinate DH's family from us. DH and I feel that any of DH's family members that entertain such garbage out of his mouth after his known track history of outrageous behavior to his father is no loss to our family and we will continue to cut those family members from our lives!

Both SS and SD are masters at emtional blackmail - ex. I won't talk to you if you don't XXXXXXX. DH, myself and BDs are so over it! Skids of course learned how to do this as children from BM!

Thye also have tried secrecy but DH tells me everyting anyway so I guess this never really worked for them with us.

Longtime SM

"When people show you who they are believe them" - OPRAH

StepAside's picture

My 23-yr-old said a bunch of

My 23-yr-old said a bunch of hateful crap to DH about me not too long ago. I sent her a message letting her know that I was aware of it. She lied and denied it all. And she also argued that her conversations with her daddy are private and not meant for my ears.

I responded by telling her that privacy is a huge problem in their family. Everybody talks smack about everybody else when they aren't around and it only leads to feelings of betrayal and divide.

If they don't want DH to repeat it, perhaps they'll shut their traps. Honestly, what do they hope to accomplish?

Here's what I don't understand. All this manipulation, secrecy and betrayal only works when others play along. How about complete transparency? If my kid were doing what your SS does, I think I'd have a talk with him about his behavior. Call it like it is. Or the next time he stabs me in the back to my own family, how about scheduling a family meeting so everybody can talk about it. Expose him enough times, and he'll get sick of the repercussions of his behavior.

My DH is the same way. I've asked him before, why doesn't he tell his kids how much he hates their behavior? How about telling them how much he is disappointed with their lies, or their manipulation, or their games. Seriously, if he'd tell them how he feels, maybe they'd do it less. But it's so quick to stay silent, that it just goes on and on.

ojykceb's picture

I think we have the same

I think we have the same step-daughter.....

ojykceb's picture

Thank you!!!! The validation

Thank you!!!! The validation here is sooo healing. These are them. You hit the nail on the head! And this one, this SD, she's a pro. The BM, that is a different issue entirely!

notadoormatanymore's picture


Emotional blackmail....sheesh...you hit the nail on the head. I can totally relate. My Stepkids have been doing this for years. Now that they are young adults, it continues...I thought it would get better as they get older...it has gotten worse. They are now 19 (SD) and 21 (SS) and havent been around for over 2 years because they are "punishing" dad for not bowing to their every whim. Their mother has always supported their total lack of consideration/respect for their father. She's done a good job of PAS. My husband was a doormat for many years and when he finally said no more...well, they just wouldn't have it. It's unbelievable...you described my sitch to a tee. Then they have the audacity to send my husband tuition bills expecting him to pay for these high priced private schools they pick...out of state to boot so they lose grant money...and did not include my DH in any of the decision making. They're learning the hard way that there are consequences for their actions. DH finally is saying..no more. We have two other young adults at home (my bio children) who are 20 and 17 and are respectful and know there are rules. We have a great relationship with them and I feel bad for my DH that his bio children treat him so poorly (and they to do the behind the back with all the relatives thing...everyone is so...those poor children...they had to go through all this with a divorce...pity party ...pity party). I'm sick of it. Sorry, I'm tired of pretending I'm longing for them to return to our family. There has been no drama, no tension between DH and I, no constact bickering about what THEY and their mother want. Why would I miss that. It is just so infuriating however to see my wonderful husband treated this way....uggghhhhhhhhh! Sorry, thanks for listening.

LONGTIME SM's picture

I feel exactly the way you

I feel exactly the way you do. My adult skids haven't talked to their father in almost a year and a half because he refused to give them his inheritance when they demanded it. Your college experience sounds similar to ours also. This is how ours turned out.

My husband when presented with the youngest skids college fees was unable to pay at that time due to a downward turn with his work - meaning at that time he was not able to pay himself if he wanted to keep his business afloat! He knew better than to ask me for it as I was picking up all of the slack (above the higher $ amount that I usually take care of) and was also paying for all of our new BD's childcare costs, formula, diapirs , drs, etc! Add to this the fact that this skid barely acknowledged me or BD at this time I don't know why they would think that I would chose to take care of her over my own baby.

This stepchild seeems to have never gotten over this! I do do not understand this sense of entitlement as I earned scholarships, grants, took out loans that I paid off, and worked to go to college as I did not want to ask my Dad for money.

Any financial advisor will tell you to not overlook saving for your retirement in lieu of saving for college as there are alternatives to paying for college and none for retirement!

Schild's spouse even made the verbal crack that BF owed him over 40 K because that is what it supposedly cost him to send his wife (SD) through college! I quess they expected him to pay after she was married also! Tuiiton to the school she attended was cheap since it was a small state school - about 4K for 30 hours or two semesters so it looks like they expected him to pay not only for all of the tuition but some of their shared living expenses too. What the heck! Why was BM not included in this?

I also agree with you that I do not miss the drama etc. I am enjoying the peace and I really don't care how hard they manipulate, try to blackmail, or gossip behind our backs, I will do my best to keep myself and my BDs insulated from it!. I really do not see this getting better for the primary reason that Skids have dug themselves into such a hole this time that there really is no way out of it. They have been exposed to multiple parties as the selfish human beings that they are and have made such fools of themselves that I really don't think that they can redeem themselves without a public apology and I don't see that coming any time soon!

Longtime SM

"When people show you who they are believe them" - OPRAH

Tiredofit's picture

My SD is as manipulative as

My SD is as manipulative as her BM. SD moved in with us in 1997 after she was punished by BM for staying out all night after her high school graduation. Of course BM being the neurotic she is, didn't know when to end the punishment. She took SD's car from her and refused to give it back. SD was working full time. After a few days, SD moved in with us. BM still withheld the car for another couple of weeks and went so far as to put a for sale sign on it, telling SD she wasn't ever getting the car back (which was great considering we were having to commute her back and forth to work 35 minutes away and there were 2 other children in the home that were still in school). In the end, DH had to go out and buy SD ANOTHER car. Hence how SD came to live with Daddy. After 2 years of her trying to run the house and putting up with her entitled attitude not to mention her total disrespect and her thinking she could have sex in her bedroom across the hall from our 6 year old BS, we had a huge confrontation. She, not willing to accept any wrong doing on her part and unable to apologize for anything or follow the rules, she moved in with her boyfriend. Soon after, DH received an email from her laying out why she felt it necessary to leave. She was tired of not being shown respect. How I clearly was jealous of her because of her achievements and financial stature at such a young age(LOL) and how she felt it unfair that she had to buy her own personal items (tampons, shampoo, razors, etc.). Now, to hear it told, the reason she moved in with DH was to finally after all the years of hell from BM to keep her from her dad, she decided to move in with daddy so they could finally have a relationship! OMG!! AND....how now, instead of it being BM interfering, it was now me, the wicked, wicked SM!! Well, that was 11 years ago, and there is still NO relationship.........I refuse to take the blame for her lack of trying. I have NEVER stepped between SD and her father, he has told her and SS that he doesn't know what more to do to have a relationship with them, after all they can't return a phone call and the only time we ever saw them was when we made the effort. OLD STORY...NEW DAY Shocked))


seesaw208's picture

stepaside wow you hit it on

stepaside wow you hit it on the nail. Did you write this or get it out of a book. GREAT!

peacemaker's picture

...I think the negative drama

...I think the negative drama they all share is a toxic type of bond that keeps them all prisoners of their very own man-made delusions...A very unhealthy soul tie....that I am not a part of because I did not help create the brokeness in their lives...It was a pre=existing condition when I arrived...I really don't think they know who they are without it...It has literally become who they are, as a family...and most people I know make their decisions based on their identity/ and their personal core beliefs...it's deep seeded, and without an accurate remedy...they remain prisoners of their own toxic thinking, it becomes a core belief...(Their reality)...although it is self created, and probably based on pain-inflicted experiences from their unhealthy family unit...

I think many of the issues I read about on this site, are all symptoms of a WAY deeper problem...They are all the same ( to some degree) when you get down to it...For the life of me I have been searching what the deeper root issue is....I know the one common denominator we all have is that we have chosen to marry divorced men who have pre-existing children/with many unresolved issues ...therefore, creating all these SYMPTOMS... you can't keep beating your head up against a SELF-INFLICTED symptom, and expect things to get better...because if the root issue is not dealt with...another symptom pops up...( wearing a different mask)...and the cycle begins to repeat itself over and over... where as a stepmom, you feel trapped on a merry-go-round, with these people... that you cannot get off from unless you totally disengage...Well I have disengaged (after 25 years) because, as adults now... none of them seem be working on their own issues...What the real issues are....So, I figured, if I pulled myself out completely....they would have to eventually, at the very least turn their hate toward someone else...Well I had a huge epiphany, and I now realize I will NEVER EVER return to the merry-go-round, ever-again...nor am I going to waste any more of this precious life God gave me...just sitting there watching them go round and round getting nowhere...It's like watching a bad rerun of the movie Groundhog day... over and over and over...People that have something fundamentally wrong/ and the process of dealing with it has proven a complete disaster... built into them because of their toxic experiences as a result of being a dysfunctional family unit before I arrived...The Merry go round re-experience of a process reoccurring, that produces harmful emotional and relational results/that allow no one the opportunity to move forward or get off the ride all together...the only one preventing you from disengaging is you...just jump off and change your focus as to not give the toxic process any attention whatsoever...

I'm quite uninterested in subjecting myself to that abusive process now, and have communicated with my H how I feel...He is finally seeing it for what it is...They still try to put Him in a position of choosing between Me or them and their process, because it is all they know...after 25 plus years you would think they would get it...but...it goes back to their identity and their core beliefs.....they have now lowered themselves to the predictable move of pulling away the grandchildren. (A manipulative tactic taught to them by their BM) Well He has chosen...as we both leave the merry-go-round, hand in hand, running to try and catch a sunset or two...leaving all of them still on it spinning and spinning...as I look at him and say "How long do you think it will be before they notice we've left"? Then I catch myself and.... I think to myself...."That's not my problem anymore"....you can't help someone who won't let you...You can only work on yourself at getting free...and God helps me with staying Free...

»My only regret "what took me soooo long?".....Catch a sunset while you still have time...In other words.."Enjoy your husband and the season of life you are in... while you still can"... I release these people from all the pain and rejection they have shown me...Yes..I have forgiven..but I choose healthy boundaries now, and they will have to answer to God for their choices now...
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chelbel's picture

Well said.....this is a light

Well said.....this is a light bulb moment for me. I often feel a certain way and because I have no one to share it with, without sounding like a wicked SM I feel alone and even childish in my thoughts. But you just nailed it, thank you Smiling
I have recently stepped off the Merry-go-round, its a process but I'm getting there.
I have two adult steps, SS25 and SD23 I have been with Hubby since the skids were 5 and 2 ....its the SD who is toxic and it is a behaviour learnt from BM, nothing short of manipulative. Her mother kept the SK away from us at a younger age for 4 years (we couldn't find them or afford to find them) because we couldn't have the kids Friday night,but planned instead to pick them up Sat morning. Just one example of her selfish manipulative ways. Only God knows what was said to the kids in this time they were away from us? To cut a long story short, the relationship we had with the SK has never been the same and I would imagine never will be.
I need to sort the healthy boundries out....I have always wanted to be liked and I know now that is not as important as me liking myself.

skeeter's picture

You have three! OMG I feel

You have three! OMG I feel sorry for you. I have one that can represent three; you wouldn't need another? Just kidding!

Jeans222's picture

She very well may be trying

She very well may be trying to pit you and your husband against each other and why its important you communicate with husband well, so she can't. You and your husband will have to be untited so she can't find any cracks to wiggle in and cause problems in your marriage.
Until you and husband are untited... it will not be a good idea to see her. If you have to, seek counseling... meaning if your unable to communicate with your husband as you should be able to discuss your concerns with him and have plans to circumvent the problem if you see her starting to try to make problems.

ojykceb's picture

I have done so and he so

I have done so and he so disbelieved it. It almost worked. But, this week I have learned about invalidation and have come to the conclusion that I have already done all the wrong things for all the right reasons and am ok with that. I will continue to do research and see if there is anything I can do that is positive. I love my man very much and I agree with the un-united thing. He doesn't see it, he wants to see the absolute best in everyone. I am however, disallowing the invalidation of my feelings and taking him kicking and screaming into an education of what that is and the damage it causes (along with me of course) We are worth saving, for now.
Oh, and I don't have to worry about seeing her. She only comes on Christmas and at time she knows I am not at home. Eye-wink

Weeser1's picture

All these SD's must be

All these SD's must be related to mine, also.

Sarah101's picture

An addition to StepAside's

An addition to StepAside's list:

Denial: Also known as "make SM believe she is crazy." SD's behave in inapprorpiate ways and then deny everything to make the point that YOU are "lying because you hate them" and "want to break apart the family." A variant on this is when adult SDs behave inappropriately when you are alone with them, and then act completely angelic in the presence of others.

StepAside's picture

Oh yeah, that's a good one.

Oh yeah, that's a good one. Or downplay, ridicule or reject the SM's claims. Been there a few hundred times as well.

I spent a week in my MIL's home town. My 3 darling stepangels took a pact not to even look at me. They refused to speak to me. When we got off the plane (DH, our son and myself), I said hello and they spun to show me their backs. I saw them various times at MIL's house (I stayed in a hotel, thank God!, with BS). The tension was so thick. My MIL pretended not to notice. To this day, she claims her grandbabies have never shown me disrespect in her home. And this was just one time. It's happened numerous times.

My response to her is.... if you can't guarantee that your guests have a peaceful time in your home, than you don't need to be a hostess and I won't be your guest. And my kids don't go anywhere with me. So, it's her choice. But we're not part of her game.

So many enablers to atrocious behavior. The excuses go on and on. But denial is a great one. I'm familiar with that as well.

ojykceb's picture

This one almost worked,

This one almost worked, until yesterday.....

ojykceb's picture

That one almost worked.

That one almost worked.

eyes2blue68's picture

Oh I hear you on divide and

Oh I hear you on divide and conquer. OSD arranged a weekend alone coming up on the 23rd for her and her Dad. I hate the secrecy. A few weeks ago DH asked if he could go see her alone and I was fine with it then as DS and I had other plans and wouldn't be able to. Boom! His daughter was busy and couldn't see him that weekend (lives 3 hours away) and they set up plans which excluded me and DS. I wasn't asked if it was ok if he went alone on this trip. The whole stepchildren thing has made me paranoid because of my husband's secrecy with them. I would never have known about the trip on the 23rd if my husband hadn't been acting strange and I hadn't seen the text messages on his phone with my own two eyes. I am tired of hearing that the stepchildren are not trying to leave me out. It's like my husband can't wait to use them all as an excuse to "get away" when we have difficulties in our marriage. My family lives out of state and I don't have anyone to run to when I'm uptight and unhappy. It forces me to deal with things unlike my coward spouse.

Given my spouse works 2nd shift, we only have weekends together unless I want to stay up past 11 at night to see him and get little sleep. I rise at 6:30 a.m. to start my day and get my DS off to school. Some days I feel like we are more like roommates than husband and wife and I ask myself why instead of blending our families together and forcing the children to accept I'm #1, he gives them a lot of individual time and makes my son and I feel like second rate citizens. Hubby honestly thinks he is doing nothing wrong. I told him last night he is not single anymore after finding out he's planned a spring trip to see his oldest daughter where I'm allowed to come but they've decided on the activities. I feel so special!

OSD and I have had many conflicts in the past and I think she only tolerates me for her Dad's sake, same for the others I guess. It would be more of a relief for them to just say they can't stand me than to play mind games of "You can come over. No, you can't." Part of me thinks my DH doesn't want me there when he visits them so he can play Disney World Dad and make them feel special without upsetting me. Does that make sense? It's just sad as I don't understand why grown adult children can be so clingy to their own father when they all are married with children but the youngest son.

You know it's bad when your husband won't tell you if he's in contact with his kids. The cell phone bill is in my name so I can tell when they are in touch and scheming when the bill comes out each month. Husband never used to lie to me about when they called or texted or what they talked about. I know I have issues with trust and he keeps giving me more reason not to trust him when it comes to his children.

Me (41). DH (53). Married since May 2007. DS (9) from my 1st marriage where that husband is deceased. I have 6 grown stepchildren who do not live with us: SD (32), SS (29), SS (29), SD (26), SD (22) and SS (18). DH has been married twice before me.

***** Follow me on my blog! Me (41). DH (54). Married since May 2007. DS (9) from my 1st marriage where that husband is deceased. I have 6 grown stepchildren who do not live with us. 4 biological and 2 my DH helped raise with his 2nd wife.

StepAside's picture

My DH used to confide in his

My DH used to confide in his stepdaughters when we were having problems. So they just saw one side. They thought he was an angel and I was the problem. So they are defensive of him. But what he wasn't realizing was, that he was training pit bulls who he would eventually lose control of. Now they don't want to be in my presence. That makes holidays particularly hard for him, since now he has to choose.

Your DH is doing the same thing and it's just so damned dumb. I see my dad allllll the time! I didn't used to get along with my SM. But a long time ago, I decided I wanted to have him in my life so if that meant including her, so be it. No, if they weren't married, I wouldn't be hanging out with her. We don't have much in common at all. But accepting her position makes my life soooo much easier. She doesn't feel threatened. I don't exclude her. And since I don't go out of my way to exclude her, my dad and I get plenty of time together when she leaves during our visits, like to go to work or see her friends.

Your DH is making life so much harder for everyone, including himself, by continuing to feed the divide. He can HAVE a huge loving family, where everyone gets along, if HE stops playing the game and puts his foot down. What he's doing is nuts. Nobody loses when the hostility ends and everybody wins. My dad knows this first hand. And so do I.

Unfortunately, my DH can't put his foot down with his kids. He sees the divide that he's created and regrets it. But he's having a really hard time turning it around. I think he could be more firm, but I don't think he's got it in him.

Anyway, it's really sad how these men cut off their noses to spite their faces. Including you doesn't mean they lose him. They'd see him more most likely. But by playing the games they are playing, they lose and you lose. And that means your DH is losing as well. Just so dumb.

How about, "Hey kids, you're grown now. Come over this Saturday for some dinner and let's play cards." Instead of trying to work out everyone's schedule so that everyone can control who sees who. What a waste of energy.

stepdance's picture

My husband also shares issues

My husband also shares issues with his kids. This did not start until this year while he and I are under a tremendous amount of financial stress and pressure. Up until this past year, for 12 years we've had virtually no problems. We have always stood together on any issues where the kids were concerned. I met him when his two children were 6 and 8 and my daughter was 10. We had one of our own after we married who is now 9 and they are 19, 21 and 23. only the 9 year old is at home. Due to this financial pressure, he, who was the bread winner has taken a huge hit to his sense of manhood and his ability to take care of his family so I understand his anger and frustration but when we have a disagreement he turns mean emotionally and then ends up feeling so bad after but before he feels bad he calls his adult children and talks badly about me. His kids jump on the opportunity to bash me and end up inflaming the situation. It has started to be a habit with him as he won't dream of talking to anyone else as the friends and family we have know that it 's all based on the stress and pressure and would remind him of that.
I don't know how to deal with it with him or his kids. I am mortified at how this has all turned out and will from now on find it so difficult to be in the same room with either of them.

ojykceb's picture

Wow! Yes the secrecy is

Wow! Yes the secrecy is brutal. And, your use of coward, I had been staying away from that one, but it hits home and that is that last thing I want to believe about that wonderful man of mine. I am finding that the most hurtful part of all of this is it won't stop as long as it is tolerated and his inaction "tolerates" it. I had such high hopes of loving my stepkids and them, me. After being slapped down at the school of hard knocks I figured out that idea was shot to hell.

DC's picture

Yes the secrecy is indeed

Yes the secrecy is indeed brutal and I swear it has made me paranoid. All phone calls my husband makes to his daughter are when I am not around. He denies that, but it is true. Half the time if she calls when I'm around he won't answer it - says he doesn't want to hear her "wants and demands." He used to text frequently to her and I learned a LOT from reading those - all money related - secretly giving it to her behind my back even though she is horrible to me. Our counselor told him he was leading his own private life with the phone. I called cell phone co and took text messaging off his phone.

ojykceb's picture

Wow! Yes the secrecy is

Wow! Yes the secrecy is brutal. And, your use of coward, I had been staying away from that one, but it hits home and that is that last thing I want to believe about that wonderful man of mine. I am finding that the most hurtful part of all of this is it won't stop as long as it is tolerated and his inaction "tolerates" it. I had such high hopes of loving my stepkids and them, me. After being slapped down at the school of hard knocks I figured out that idea was shot to hell.

Orange County Ca's picture

I assume you're female. The

I assume you're female.

The solution is very simple. You ignore the adult kid and their antics.

You concentrate on your hubby and your relationship with him.

Your spouse may appear to agree with a off-spring but his actions are what counts. He's married to you and you have no complaints about how he's treating you. Stop feeling like you have to defend yourself. It takes two to play this game and if you stop participating the game comes to an end.


I've observed humans for 70 years and dogs for 10. I prefer the dogs.

ojykceb's picture

Yes I am female. And, that

Yes I am female. And, that is great advice, though at this point, I honestly don't think I am mature enough to adhere to it.

Jeans222's picture

My SD tried hard to divide

My SD tried hard to divide us... she did so by trying to control us...
got to the point of her asking for things like: a cough drop, just to make us do something for her.
She is always trying to come up with ways to control us.

We have top watch it and make plans BEFORE going to meet her as she will try to take control of the plans and what we will do. We find its better to meet her somewhere, letting her drive herself in case she has a fit.
When we invite her over, its going to be limited to a time frame starting at 30 minutes, then going to an hour, then to 2 hours.. which will be the max time
we visit with her and husband and I are going to stay together, so she cannot try to divide us.
We have to do this to not allow her to control us.
Hopefully she will tire of trying and give it up but I know its not going to be anytime soon.

Robertson03's picture

I am soooo happy I found

I am soooo happy I found this website! I am reading my life and I know now I am not alone.....

Adult sd living at home
ALWAYS talking about past family trips
Never helping out
Cannot talk to her as she will cry and say she has emotional problems because of the divorce
MY WORD! I am not crazy Eye-wink

vgill's picture

Sorry but she sounds like a

Sorry but she sounds like a sponge, step doughter or bio daughter, she needs to geta place of her own to feel sorry for herself in, How will they ever grow up if we don't make them take some responsibility for themselves, she will be proud of herself and what she can accomplish on her own but she has to do it on her own!!!

buttercup123's picture

Get counselling. You and

Get counselling. You and your husband need to be united. He may not want to hear what a brat his daughter is from you, but a professional may be able to get through to him. They can teach you ways to cope that will help immensely. Good luck. SD sounds horrid.

She shouldn't be able to come to your house and stir the pot. I'd say time to get her some help too and if she doesn't want to help around the house she can leave. Be firm with your hubby.

wickedsm123's picture

counselling is all very well.

counselling is all very well. But, something or someone has to give and it may not be him. That is why, if they don't live with you and they are nasty to you, you should just cut them out of your life.
don't even fret about what they are saying or doing.
Your OH sees them, you don't. Ask him if he had a nice time. Then talk about something else.

These kids are so utterly average....

ManUp's picture

Oh oh oh! My favourite

Oh oh oh! My favourite trick!

Go ahead, ask a simple personal question that somebody would share with a stranger on the bus and watch a nuclear weapon lobbed back at you.

Or, make an innocent mistake and watch two nuclear weapons lobbed at you.

Rejectedstepmom's picture

I recently re married over 2

I recently re married over 2 years ago he has 3 daughters one if which he has always been close too, he was divorced 22 years when I met him, only one if them live close to us, the same one he is very close too. When we were dating his family would always welcome me over for all occasions including holidays, birthdays, etc, even his x wife was apart if this, I had no problem with it but I did think it was odd that we would share special occasions and holidays tougether with his x wife, but once we got married everything changed! Suddenly we were not invited over for the holidays , or anything much for that matter, only one time when his daughters mom his x wife, was gone on thanksgiving were we invited, only ONCE! Remember when we were dating I was welcome but no more, his daughter makes excuses, she is busy or spending the holidays with her mom his x wife, but not her dad at all my husband, they have always been close and now that he re married me no more, she only wants to spend time with him when she needs something.money etc. they are always nice to my face but it seems phoney I'm not stupid I can read between the lines I used to wonder if it was only his x wife, but I don't think so, his daughter could divide her time on the holidays but she does not. She spends all or most of it with her mom his x wife and exculuses us, I have been nothing but nice but nothing has changed no matter what I do ? I give up I used to get real mad but I'm over it now she will never accept me truly I just feel bad for my husband this is so unfair to him! He has bent over backwards for his daughter , and this is how she repays him !
Shuns him just because he found love and re married, she does not tell him this that I know of? He denies any knowledge to me this is a very selfish, self searving woman she does not care about her dads happiness at all only her own!

Rejected stepmom

Rejectedstepmom's picture

I recently re married 2 and a

I recently re married 2 and a half years ago, to my husband he has 3 adult daughters ages 38,43, and 45 only one of them lives close by us, including his x wife she is my husbands age age 63, I am 49 years old,my husband has always been very close to his daughter age 43 the one that lives close by, his x wife lives close to his daughter also, they have been divorced about 24 years now, when we were dating I. Was always welcomed by his family for holidays, birthdays, etc, but ever since we got married things have changed, we are never invited over for holidays, birthdays, or anything, basically shunned, he still gets along with his daughter and they talk on the phone, but she does not ever invite us over. I'm insulted, I have sensed she does not like me, but she isn't mean to me directly, I've asked my husband if he knows anything but he denies that they don't like me? Well I have invited her over also but she declines , I sensed that his daughter tried to break us up when we were dating, she wanted him all for herself. So now we don't spend any holidays or special occasions with his daughter, she makes excuses that she is busy, or spending it with her mom, his x wife she does not make any time for her dad my husband at all unless she needs something like money or to borrow his truck , this pisses me off because this is unfair to my husband, he has been such a good dad to her, and this is how she repays him! She tries now to pretend to my face that she likes me but I see through her, I was welcome over for all occasions when I was just his girlfriend but not now that I'm his wife! I wonder if maybe it was his x wife that was influencing this, probably somewhat but it can't be completely because she could divide her time at holidays separate but she chooses not too! She makes excuses.She is the most selfish self centered woman I've ever met! It's all about her and what she can get from him she doesn't Care one bit about her dads happiness, just her own that's what I see, well now I'm over it I'm planning the holidays for us without her and family, I'm no longer waiting around hoping: to be included the way we used to be. I know for sure that if my husband were single he would be invited over for all occasions in a heart beat! It's so sad but even though he says they like me I know better its not rocket science just common sense I just wish they would all be honest with there real feelings but no. I think his daughter is doing this on purpose to alienate her dad from her and the family so that he misses them and will leave me I think that's her plan is.

Rejected stepmom

Freshstart's picture

Isn't it interesting the

Isn't it interesting the changes that happen when you marry? Here is just the beginning of my list.

Engagement announcement
- SD cried for over an hour and developed "migraines"
- SD demanded piano to value of engagement ring
- His best friend sulked and did not speak to him
- Best mate's family stopped inviting SD over or showing interest in her
- Sister had hissy fit and said "I am broke, now where will I get money from?"
- Both exes ramped up the nasty emails and behaviour to a wedding crescendo
- SD boycotted wedding at last moment
- Sister didn't bother coming - unemployed but was a bit busy that day

The only authentic objection was from my 3 year old "Will you love DH more that me?" My answer "Mummy loves DH as a husband and mummy loves you as a son. DH loves you lots. We love you and love being with you every day. DH loves mummy and that makes mummy happy." His answer "I like it when you are happy mummy, it makes you pretty." no problems ever since.

Turns out the most mature person was the 3 year old.

Freshstart's picture

Stepaside is spot on and I

Stepaside is spot on and I agree with the other divide and conquer techniques listed by people. Clever SDs work hard at it. But what is their prize if they win? Daddy has no life partner. Daddy is their life partner? Daddy is sad and gives them money all the time? Daddy only loves his princess? What a life goal. It took me a while to figure out that this is how any person could think. My upbringing was all about learning to stand on my own two feet and then going to find myself a life. I did not realise that some people do not ever have that goal. They want other people's lives and money.

Sorry for ranting.

Techniques employed include:
Guilt tripping
Eyelid fluttering
Baby voices
Withdrawing affection
Ramping up around events
Punishment for treating wife well
Withdrawing from events
Crying if all else fails
Go to mummy
Get mummy to write
Oh mummy made me do it

sandye21's picture

SD acted as if she were at a

SD acted as if she were at a funeral instead of our wedding, sulking to whole time. From then on, it got worse. To add to the list, I was treated as if I were invisible in my own home, like I was stupid, the brunt of jokes. SD slammed doors in my face. SD constantly rolled eyeballs and played blowfish when I said anything. SD and her Husband constantly had mumbled conversations while in the same room with us or in the car. They used my home to cook for other people without my permission. SD was very hostile and verbally abusive when Daddy wasn't around. SD told Daddy I made her uncomfortable when I asked her to pick up after herself. SD would not lift a finger to clean up after herself - ever. SD and Husband never paid for anything, expecting Daddy to pick up the bill. SD got angry when DH acknowledged my birthday. I can go on and on - over 20 years of it.

DH was probably worse than SD, never giving me support, accusing me of over-reacting or only believing that SD was a sweet princess. Leaving me behind on the sidewalk so he and SD could walk together, not acknowledging that I supported him while SD went to expensive college, treating me like a second class citizen, being 'in' on the jokes, allowing SD to disrrespect me as his wife, etc., etc.

It is not your Skids who are the problem, it is DH. DH sets the stage for how his wife is to be treated. This should happen at the very beginning of the marriage. If your DH is a coward YOU must stand up for yourself and your human rights. This is what I finally did and have never been sorry. DH has had to learn to live with the consequences of being a coward. SD has not acknowledged his existence in almost 3 years. Also, he is now living with an independent woman who lives life to the fullest. A far cry from the woman he married.

Disillusioned's picture

Wow Sandye21 your sd sounds

Wow Sandye21 your sd sounds so exactly like my H's eldest daughter it's not funny! H's daughter also acted like our wedding was a funeral. Had such a crying fit the day of our wedding my maid of honor/best friend looked and me and mouthed "WTF????"

She did all the same tactics as your SD, would let doors slam on me if I happened to be going through one behind her, put me down/laughing to others while in my presence, rolled her eyes when I would talk, loved to make fun of anything I said. Real sarcastic mouthy disrespectful little bitch. Hostile to me, the whole 9 yards...would sit there and eat the dinners I cooked but never so much as say thank you - only how I could have made something better. Never so much as picked her plate up after dinner let alone lifted a finger to help clean our home which she lived in full time with us. No responsibilities, no chores, not expected to show any respect to me, ya...the real problem was H and his lack of support

H also would do the whole walking up ahead with his daughter and leaving me trailing behind in the street thing...not with his eldest, always with YSD. If YSD needed to use the washroom when we were in a restaurant H would get up and escort her there and wait to walk her back - she was not a little kid and he certainly didn't extend this same courtesy to his wife. Of course, H loved to take YSD out to expensive nice restaurants.....felt more like she was his SO and I was the kid, and a second-class one at that!

Like you, I stood up for myself. No more tolerating disrespect from H's daughters, his sister and most especially him. I had to make sure H knew it was a hill I would die on. A lot of that stuff has stopped now. H spent a long time living in fear of his kids walking out of his life so he allowed it all to happen to me and treated them as princesses regardless. When it occurred to H that his wife was the one that was going to walk out of his life, he changed. And...some of the guilt he always walked around with when it came to his children, well, I have realized he also feels some guilt about how he's treated me in the past. Unlike his daughters, I don't use H's guilt to manipulate him...but he should feel some guilt about it all

sandye21's picture

Yes, They have to be twins!!!

Yes, They have to be twins!!! The funny thing is, the night before my wedding my maid of honor / best friend watched as SD was having a hissy fit. SD didn't want to pick up something she threw on the floor. My maid of honor said the same thing! LOL LOL Not sure if DH feels any guilt for how he treated me but he knows I will not tolerate disrespect anymore so he treats me a lot better.

Freshstart's picture

What I don't get is the SD

What I don't get is the SD dramas over their dad's marrying. It smacks of jilted girlfriend behaviour. If it was just about wanting their old family together, which you can be sorry for, then that would happen differently and at different stages.

sandye21's picture

Ya, I never thought of it

Ya, I never thought of it like that. But now that you brought it up, SD always gave me the impression she was competing with me. If I seemed to be better at something than she was she became livid. One time I remember preparing a dish and she made a sarcastic comment to me about it. When we were all eating her Husband raved over the dish and she pouted the entire weekend.

skeeter's picture

I have "silently" set the

I have "silently" set the rules for "my home". SD53 used to come into our home without knocking. I began latching the screen. She has to knock now. This is just one of the things that I do to let her know; "this is our home and you will respect that". Another; she would show up at dinner time to visit; son-in-law works shifts. I began fixing dinner for "two only"; when she showed up, I would say "oh, I'm sorry, I just fixed for the two of us; if I would have known....". I did this more than once, twice, three times; it worked. Usually her Dad answers the phone, because I'm keeping myself busy; once in a while I carry the phone around and answer it; guess what? She has to ask to speak to DH; she hates talking to me. I respond with; "of course, one minute let me take the phone to "my honey". Everything is said in front of DH, so she cannot make up any more gossip, than she already does. Now she stops by when I'm gone on errands, to the gym, whatever, to visit DH. This is fine with me, but she knows it's "our" home and she has limitations. She hates it, but if she tries something else, I put a stop to it. She loves to try divide and conquer; but she also knows I'm on to her. It's like SDs are "the other women". They like the game too. I don't let her bother me; I've slowly disengaged and go about my business. The newest ploy: I think she is making something for "our bedroom" for Christmas; she emailed and ask what colors are in our bedroom. I don't have a problem with accepting a "well thought gift", but whatever it is will go into one of the guest bedrooms; I will not allow her to come into our space in our private master bedroom. It never stops, good luck!

sandye21's picture

Good for you! She IS acting

Good for you! She IS acting like the other woman, making sure to invade your bedroom with her presence. Your idea to place it in teh guest room is priceless and will give her yet another 'silent message'. She deserves it. LOL LOL Please post about her reaction to seeing her 'gift' in the guest bedroom.

Disillusioned's picture

Wow Sandye21, yes again your

Wow Sandye21, yes again your SD sounds exactly like my husband's eldest. I also felt she was competing with me. If I did something well she would pout, throw tantrums, excuse her behavior by saying she 'wasn't feeling well' on the other hand if I didn't do well at something she was seemingly sympathetic....making a point of talking about it Eye-wink

She also had nothing nice to say about anything I cooked but boy she sure was ready to offer "suggestions" as to what I could do to make a dish that hadn't turned out better

Freshstart's picture

Wow on the present for your

Wow on the present for your bedroom because my SD17 did exactly the same! Two attempts. Framed photograph of some scenery for "our bedroom" and family photos for "our bedroom". Yucky that they want their presence in the place you sleep and have sex. I am thinking these women have some mighty big boundary issues.

We discovered by accident that when she was 13 she had written a novel in her dad's bedroom because that is where his computer was. She has a computer in her own room. He had expressly told her not to go in his bedroom without asking. At that time he and I were exchanging some private emails of the nature that adults do. I had specifically asked him before emailing anything private whether his computer was private and password protected from his daughter. He said yes it definitely was.

Well turns out now that it wasn't. It sort of freaks me out to think of her sitting in her dad's bedroom alone writing a novel. It gets better it was all a bit hot and steamy full of her being kissed and loved up by a handsome mysterious man.

Seriously she has intruded on so much of our intimate life in these sort of covert and wierd ways. Stole the disk from our camera for example. Is their a psychologist out there that can explain this?

So happy to share this stuff. Sometimes I feel like it settles on me like a creepy blanket. After writing this I feel so much better.

Freshstart's picture

oh another example. Sang "Our

oh another example. Sang "Our Song" for her end of year solo in school concert. Of the billions of songs in the world why "Our song" that we chose for "Our Wedding" or express "Our Love".

Odd odd odd. Weird creepy. Running out of adjectives.

skeeter's picture

SD53 always brings up her sex

SD53 always brings up her sex life when we are in a group of family and friends. I've noticed from the very beginning (34 years ago), she discusses sex issues a lot in front of DH (BD). I have a 97 year old Father that spoiled me too; he never in his life discussed sex in front of me or my sister; therefore we don't even think of it. I always thought this was strange. Son-in-law doesn't like the conversation either. Therefore, when she began asking what colors we use in our bedroom; I get very uncomfortable. I'm sure there has never been anything but a healthy father/daughter relationship with DH; because I know my husband; but she is weird to say the least. She does it to be the Alpha Female and attempt to divide and conquer, is my guess. Whatever....the gift (if it comes about) will go to the guest room.

peacemaker's picture



peacemaker's picture



wickedpony's picture

I have what may be an "oldie

I have what may be an "oldie but goodie" situation that I need advice on. I have been remarried for 17 years. DH has three grown children (42, 38, 34 yrs. old). Middle child is SD. At first, all three SC would come into my home, ignore me, talk around me, visit with their Dad but never really answer me if I asked questions. They even ignored my parents the first time they met them at a dinner that DH set up. DH always took up for them ("you don't know what they've been through with their Mother being a nutjob and a control freak; blah, blah, blah). If they came over, I would make myself busy by cleaning house, or washing dishes, or whatever I could find so that I didn't have to sit there and be ignored in my own home! This has been a source of contention between DH and myself for YEARS! Fast forward and I now pretty much get along with the 2 SS's, and their respective significant other's (as well as two step-grandchildren). Howevere, SD continues to be manipulative, deceiptful, disrepectful, and blames everything on me. Three years ago when she got herself pregnant (at 33 years old and introduced the father of the child as the "baby daddy" - how nice), she had grand dreams of marrying this "about to graduate from college at 22 years old with an engineering degree", move to his home state and live the life of luxury while playing house to someone who would take care of her and the baby and make six figures while she did whatever she decided to do. Well, six months later, she's not talking to "baby daddy", because he "got rough with her", and she's not going to let him have any contact with her or the baby! When I say this is an old story (the getting rough part), it's because boyfriend she had when I first married DH, got rough with her and wouldn't marry her, so she didn't want him; first husband "got rough with her" so she divorced him; next boyfriend (who didn't want to get married) supposedly "got rough with her" and then he was gone; now baby-daddy "gets rough with her" so she's gotten rid of him except - oops, he wants to be a Father to his child! OMG - what a shock! Now she needs money to hire a lawyer because, supposedly, he's filed for custody of the "unborn" child and she has to fight him so she needs a lawyer! DH says all he has is her inheritance and at this point all that equals is about $10,000 - she says "I'll take it"! Later, we find out from other SS's that SHE's the one who filed against baby-daddy to "terminate his rights" as a Father - not the other way around. Long story short, in the meantime I feel sorry for the guy and send him a friend request on fb, which he apparently takes as some sort of covert-operation and it gets back to SD and she calls and screams (and I mean SCREAMS) over the phone to me that I have no right, and that I did that on purpose to get in her face, and that I have cut her to the bone, and blah, blah, blah... That was three years ago - I have not seen or spent time with her, her son, her new husband, since all that went down. Now, all of the sudden, DH wants me to call and apologize and says that if I will break the ice, he believes that she may come around and we can "all be one big happy family". Maybe I am too cynical, but it appears to me that nothing is going to change, regardless of whether I apologize (again) or not (I told her I was sorry that day she screamed over the phone to me). Any thoughts?