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I don't like my step-daughter. Am I evil?

(88 Posts)
missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 11:22:17

I feel pretty horrible.

To put this in perspective - I don't particularly like some of my friends children, because we are all individuals at the end of the day - and some people grate on others.

The stepdaughter in question is 7, I've known her since she was 3, nearly 4, and my dislike for her has stayed pretty much the same throughout. I suppose it's the way she has been bought up, which is quite different to my own daughter, and she just irritates me.

I've tried, really tried, to act like a bloody adult and get over it. Just recently, I decorated and carpeted our spare room for her for when she stays over as a way of trying to give us a fresh start in my own mind. It hasn't worked. Whenever she stays over for the weekend, I can feel that I'm not my usual self, because I'm basically forced to spend time with somebody I don't want to - and who irritates my own daughter as well.

I'm well aware this is embarrassing, childish behaviour. But I don't know how to stop the way I feel.

Me and her dad aren't getting on so well at the moment either, of course I've never vocalised my feelings but he's not stupid, he can see that I chance when she's around.

Has anyone been in a similar position who can offer advice on how I can sort myself out? Or is walking away and letting him find someone who truly cares for his daughter the kind/best thing to do?

P.S I really am aware that my feelings are awful, and I would appreciate constructive advice rather than confirmation that I'm a bitch.

How could you have disliked her at 3? I mean, don't get me wrong - I have a three year old and I know they're capable of asking what a pot plant is saying or similar 12 times in a row and other things which can be trying - but surely that goes with the territory?

I think this has to be more about you and your reaction to her existence. Have you considered counselling?

sparklyjumper Sun 20-Jan-13 11:29:48

What ltj said, what could she possibly have done at 3 to make you dislike her? What does she do so bad now to make you dislike her?

usualsuspect Sun 20-Jan-13 11:29:56

I think she will sense you don't like her, even if you don't vocalise it.
Poor kid.

I think you should walk away. Is her dad your childs dad?

sarahseashell Sun 20-Jan-13 11:30:38

I think it's a good thing that you're acknowledging the problem, and that it's just a clash of personalities rather than trying to blame her for the issue. You can't help how you feel and I think forcing yourself to do nice things for her (with expectations from you that she'll be pleased or whatever) is the wrong way to go.

She can probably pick up on the fact that you dislike her sad irrespective of what you're doing on the surface. To what extent do your feelings towards her mother affect how you feel about dsd?

How about your relationship- that's a separate issue, do you feel like that's coming to an end? Are there any other children involved or just your dd and dsd?

Gigondas Sun 20-Jan-13 11:31:26

Agree with longtalljosie. No one is saying that you have to become stepmum of the year but your feelings about dsd will corrode your relationship with dh and Her plus affect your dd.

Therapy will help you explore why you feel this way and work on ways to contain it. It won't be easy though. Tavistock centre (if you are in London) offers some good therapy. I do think it is therapy you need- looking at your beliefs and behaviours not counselling.

Well done on facing up to this but do please do something about your feelings - I am not going to call you a bitch but I do thing it is cruel and unfair If you continue to let this drift on.

Bluestocking Sun 20-Jan-13 11:31:42

Poor you. Can you say a bit more about the ways in which her behaviour irritates you? How old is your daughter?

Gigondas Sun 20-Jan-13 11:33:37

I am guessing dsd did nothing out of the ordinary - it is what she represents . I know someone else like this who doesn't like her (perfectly normal nice) dsd as it reminds her of dp past and takes attention away from her.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 11:34:53

She was nearly four, and nothing in particular, or that I can even explain.

Maybe it is a problem with me. Her mum has been pretty horrible throughout mine and her dads relationship, and maybe I'm projecting my feelings of negativity on to her. That's why I'm wondering if I'm being unfair to both dad and daughter for being around.

There is nothing so bad that she does, she's a lovely girl. But she grates on me. The way she talks, the things she says, the things she enjoys all irritate me.

Lueji Sun 20-Jan-13 11:37:56

What is it exactly that you don't like about her?

Is there anything about her behaviour that you can talk with your DP and work on it together, at least when she is at your home?
Who disciplines her?

You don't have to like her, but sometimes we just have to accept characters in our lives, as we do at work and in our families.
What if she was your DD? Siblings can be very different, regardless of how they were brought up.

usualsuspect Sun 20-Jan-13 11:38:08

How would you feel if your DP really disliked your DD for no reason?

biff23 Sun 20-Jan-13 11:38:16

I can kind of understand what you mean. I don't think I could take on someone else's child, I wouldn't have love for them (I don't think so anyway) and it wouldn't be fair on the child. I think for some of us it's just not there, doesn't make us bad, it would however be best to end relationship though as I don't think you will be happy long term and it's unfair on child and partner.

Gigondas Sun 20-Jan-13 11:39:01

That's hard if relationship with ex is tricky as it is a constant reminder . I am a step mum and relationship with dh ex is very acrimonious so I do know how fraught it can be. I don't hate step kids but I find that therapy offers me an outlet for difficulties that means I don't bring it home.

AngelWreakinHavoc Sun 20-Jan-13 11:39:03

I think this is awful. I have a dss who is 5 and for the last 4 years his mum has made my life hell. I wouldnt dream of taking it out on dss.
Are you jelous of your dh relationship with his daughter? As that is how it comes accross to me.

Lueji Sun 20-Jan-13 11:39:28

Xposts.

It looks like you really need to work on yourself and attitudes towards others.
Particularly if you have similar feelings towards friends' children too.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 11:45:28

Thank you for the constructive advice. (Not so much for the negativity, as I've said, I'm well aware this isn't right or acceptable, which is why I'm exploring what I can/should do about it).

Sarah, yes I do feel like it's coming to an end. And maybe that's why I'm pathetically ready to admit my feelings towards dad are a contributory factor.

I'm also a hypocrite, I wouldn't accept it if my partner had similar feelings towards my daughter.

Lueji, I have similar feelings (less extreme, granted) towards a minority of some of my friends children because they are rude and demanding and I don't like those behaviours. I don't think it's out of the ordinary to find some children adorable and others rather irritating - just like we do other adults.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 11:46:06

*feelings towards dsd

sparklyjumper Sun 20-Jan-13 11:47:24

My dsis didn't really like her stepsons or their mother. They were nice children but she would complain about everything, I don't think she actually like the fact that they were always her dp's first priority, that he paid a lot of maintenance to their mother, the fact that they'd been bought up differently to her ds. She made the effort, she did put a lot of effort in but they had their problems, rows, nearly split up a few times. But in the end the children grew up and now they're all happy and get along well, now she doesn't like the stepsons girlfriends. It's just her attitude to people.

I think as a pp said, if he's not really doing anything wrong you need to do some work on yourself or walk away.

Pollykitten Sun 20-Jan-13 11:47:31

It's very hard - I felt the same way about my stepson (although to be fair he was an exceptionally difficult boy and still is very extreme as an 18 year old now) so he was 'hard to love'. Perhaps you have unrealistic expectations of how you should feel about her. You are in a parental role, but you are not her parent, so you shouldn't expect yourself to feel motherly towards her. However, the situation is not of her choosing, so you have a very big responsibility to do the absolute best by her. It sounds like you have all kinds of other unresolved feelings - it does seem a bit unhealthy not to have discussed the situation with your DP. If things are rocky with him, you probably owe it to yourself and everyone to find someone sensible you can talk to about it - it would probably be an enormous relief.

Lueji Sun 20-Jan-13 11:47:43

Can you think of what you like about her and concentrate on that, possibly even encourage it?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Jan-13 11:51:25

Stop beating yourself up. You have clearly tried, you are obviously aware that it's not ideal and you are trying to sort it out. Be a bit kinder to yourself.

I love kids, pretty much all of them, but every now and then there's a child that I would seriously struggle having to be a non residential step parent to, I think it's a lot easier to be a residential step parent to a difficult child as you have more influence over their behaviour.

There are two pretty big hurdles there aren't there sad It's hard to know which way to tackle this because either could be a deal breaker and each affects the other.

How long have things not been good with your DP? What are the issues there?

What does your DD find irritating about her SS?

What do you find difficult to cope with, with your SD?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Jan-13 11:52:20

Sorry x -posted with your other posts.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jan-13 11:53:03

A few suggestions from me. Rather than changing your personality when she's around, be resolutely the same. By which I mean treating her the way you would your natural DD if she was behaving the same way. You don't have to be nice to a child that is misbehaving. That's the 'stick' end of the equation....

Then the 'carrot' part. How much time do you spend with your step-daughter one on one? Would you ever go out & spend time with her leaving your natural DD behind, for example? I was involved for a long time with cub scouts. Some of the little horrors that would turn up for evening meetings could really rub me up the wrong way ... but get chatting to the same kids when you're thrown together on camp or some kind of activity and I often found that most of the irritating stuff was attention-seeking in a large group and they could be quite nice once you got to know them individually.

I don't think you can expect to 'like' every child but as long as you're consistent and you take time to get to know them, I think you can improve things.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 20-Jan-13 11:55:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 11:58:07

The issues are that I am angry that he let our relationship drift in to a friendship. He got lazy, took me for granted, stopped bothering to be affectionate... until things reached a head - he realised I'd got fed up - and now I can't quite get over the feeling of 'it's too late'. He's trying to be lovely, but I'm not interested.

She find her irritating because, well partly I suspect she's picking up on my feelings, and partly because she's quite an immature 7 year old in comparison and my DD is quite mature. They just wouldn't be friends by choice, they are very opposite in personality and interests.

I just find her irritating. It puts me on edge her being around - and it's nothing specific, apart from her immaturity I suppose. I don't find her 'innocence', her inability to put together a coherent thought or sentence, her inability to pronounce words correctly endearing, I find it annoying.

There is definitely feelings towards the ex tied up with it - the amount of maintenance paid, the fact my partner is too scared to stand up to her about anything. And the fact my partner doesn't make enough effort towards SD is a problem too - not going to parents evenings (because not invited, but he should push to be IMO, things like that).

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