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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.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Jan-13 12:07:11

Right - well, my opinion (for what it's worth) is that firstly you need to think about your relationship with with your DP. There's no point in worrying about your feelings about his DD if you don't think what you have as a couple is going to work out.

How did 'he' let your relationship drift into a friendship? Did you contribute to this in anyway or were you appreciating him, making him feel special, being affectionate etc or were you expecting him, as the man, to do all of that? <be honest with yourself, if not us>

He's now trying hard - you have to make your mind up if it's what you want or not. He can't do anything to change what happened before. How long has he been 'trying' for? Are you worried it wont last or do you think it will last, but still don't care anymore?

His relationship with his daughter would definitely put me off of him, apart from anything else.

I don't think it's particularly unusual to not like our dsc, and I don't think it makes you a bitch. However, if you have felt like this from the start you are unlikely to change the way you feel now, so yes, I think you should leave because if you stay you could end up damaging that child in an emotional way and that would be wrong. They will pick up on your feelings.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 20-Jan-13 12:25:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

benbobaggins Sun 20-Jan-13 13:34:28

OP your post struck a chord with me, about 18 months ago I got with a great bloke and after about 5 months I met his dd, she was spoilt rotten and I instantly depised her, she was sly and nasty to my ds, when I mentioned this to her dad, he wouldn't hear anything bad about his precious little brat girl.

So I ended an otherwise fab relationship because I wasn't able to pretend to like her, I think that is the best course of action for you.

Lafaminute Sun 20-Jan-13 13:40:40

You could be describing my dsd and her mother. Her mother was/is so nasty and dsd is now in her 20's and is just like her mother - treats her df the same way. I have always tried to like my sd but it is very hard when her mother was so abusive to dh and I. I could not trust dsd and she ended up hurting dh in a way that was extreme even by her mothers standards. We have no contact now (except for payments - which he still pays even though he cannot pay our mortgage angry). No advice really except my dh was so terrified of upsetting dsd's mother that he allowed her to do and behave as she wished which never helped the situation. It's a tough one and I wish you luck in sorting it.

hermioneweasley Sun 20-Jan-13 13:42:44

If her just being her grates on you then yes,I don't think it's fair for you to be in her life.

SundaysGirl Sun 20-Jan-13 13:44:15

I think it's so sad that at 7 her 'immaturity' gets on your nerves. Children and especially girls have such a short space of time to be that way as it is.

You've known you dislike her to this extent for years you say? That's pretty horrible...that you have just allowed her to experience your irritation and dislike of her for so long. Why don't you be the 'mature' one and stop it?

ZZZenAgain Sun 20-Jan-13 13:51:18

how old is your own dd?

DoodlesNoodles Sun 20-Jan-13 13:57:52

I am glad posters are being constructive (mostly).

I think it is ok not to like someone, even a child. It is normal and there is not much you an do about it. Don't beat yourself up over it.

You just have to be aware of it and make sure nobody knows. Act loving and kind and just get on with it. If you can't do this then it is not fair on your DSD. She is a child and deserves to feel loved.

I hope you can work things out with your DH.

Springdiva Sun 20-Jan-13 14:00:10

I can't remember the correct description for it but was just reading an article which said the children want/need your time and attention/ interest. Not to carp and criticise them but just to be with them. Given in a way which demonstrates that you WANT to be with them.

How much time have you chosen to spend with the SD, doing what she wants to do with you on your own. Not much I suspect.

Decorating a room for her is not being with her. Did she help paint the walls, did she choose the paint and bedding? I remember decorating a bedroom with my DCs at that age, they 'painted' hand prints all round the walls, it was their room after all!

DSD will KNOW that your relationship is strained, though whether she is old enough to know you dislike her or not I don't know. But if you are standoffish with her she will not take to you either.

In fact why you and your DD want to waste time on this pair of misfits I just don't know.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Jan-13 14:01:14

Lafaminute - why is he still paying his ex when his DD is a grown woman?

SundaysGirl - there's a difference between innocence and immaturity - a 7 year old acting like a 3 year old is not endearing, not at all.

wrinklyraisin Sun 20-Jan-13 14:05:32

I have a nearly 9yr old stepdaughter. Sometimes she irritates me too. She can be immensely lazy and selfish and egotistical. But she's only a child. She's trying to find her place in the world and its our "job" as the adults in her life to guide her and encourage positive behaviors even when we are gritting our teeth and wishing we had a bottomless bottle of wine. You do this for your own daughter, no? You have to be on the same page as your partner. Its a team effort. Yes, as stepmothers we are not mothers per se. But we are still a maternal figure and we have to sometimes suck it up and deal with really difficult stuff for the sake of the relationship. Once you don't feel the relationship is worth this, though, then you need to be fair to everyone and call it a day.

The toughest thing I've had to learn to accept is that my stepdaughter comes as part of my partner. They're a package deal. If I want a relationship with him, I need to accept her too. Sometimes it's really tough as she's been brought up way different to how I would do things. But she's a sweet girl who deserves a loving family and I'm part of that now. She gives lovely cuddles and we laugh a lot, I struggle to get anything healthy in her, she goes to bed too late, and watches way too much sponge bob. Her mother tells me regularly that she talks about me at home, and it's always in positive terms. So I just try to remember during the hair ripping out moments that this, like any other family, is normal.

JaquelineHyde Sun 20-Jan-13 14:13:02

OP I think you need to get out of this relationship straight away.

Your dislike for your SD started long before your relationship was in any kind of trouble so you cannot in anyway blame that on your DP.

You also can't blame the situation with your DP's ex as you have admitted you have felt this way from the start. So this dislike and annoyance has been there from the begining and it is down to you not any outside influences.

As far as how she has been bought up...No, I don't buy this. So your daughter is a mature young lady who doesn't get on your nerves. Well whoopdeedoo!

I have two daughters, both bought up in identical circumstances and they are complete opposites. One is mature, sensible and like a mini adult, the other is as babyish as they come. Guess what I don't hate or dislike either of them, they annoy me in equal amounts actually!

I have more experience of this than most and I would quite honestly say you need to get out and get out now for the sake of this little girl. She will know how you feel about her and it will cause major issues in the future.

It will also begin to effect your precious daughter because she will be able to see what is happening and will begin to play on that. She will either use your obvious dislike for her stepsister as a way to cause trouble etc or she will begin to dislike you for it.

Sorry this may not be as constructive as you wanted but it is an honest and experienced opinion.

LoopsInHoops Sun 20-Jan-13 14:19:51

Excellent post from Jaqueline. I agree that you should walk away. Horribly unfair on the little girl otherwise.

RedRosie Sun 20-Jan-13 14:20:24

I don't usually comment on these, and you have had some good advice here ... The problem is evidently bigger than just this particular relationship.

I am a long standing step-parent however, of now grown up DSCs. It is not an easy thing to do, even when the adult realtionships are relatively good. It must be so much harder when they are not so good. You can't always help how you feel ... But in your situation the only option is to try harder, surely? Children don't ask to be in these situations, and she is still only a little girl really. sad

When and if you sort out the issue with your DP, and if you stay together, perhaps you could find something that you and your DSD could do together, just the two of you? This worked well for me during a difficult patch with one of my DSCs. I grew to love them over many years, and until I did I worked hard to be as kind and as patient as I could. They get so little of the NRP when you think about it - especially if contact is less than 50/50. I always saw my job as making them feel as welcome as possible when they were with us (as their mum had moved to be nearer her family, this was alternate weekends/holidays at most) and facilitating maximum time alone with DH if that's what they wanted.

DistanceCall Sun 20-Jan-13 14:22:11

Suck it up. She's a little girl. You're an adult. You're not on the same level. You don't have to be friends with her. And she's paying for your feelings about her father.

Be nice to her, SYSTEMATICALLY, even if you find her grating. Behave as if you liked her. She definitely notices that you don't. If you make her feel welcome she may behave quite differently. I suspect she's rather scared of you right now.

Sometimes we just take against people for whatever reason. Sometimes they can be people others really like but there is just something that grates on us. It isn't always easily identifiable, just a feeling.

That doesn't make us a bitch or a bastard and it is equally possible to find a child that we just can't get on with it.

I think in this instance it is probably better to leave the relationship, as it obviously isn't working. Fair play to you for realising there is an issue and investigating if there is something you can do about it. I do think some people have been unfair to you on this thread. We cannot help how we feel.

DistanceCall Sun 20-Jan-13 14:32:30

We cannot help how we feel. But we CAN help how we behave.

That said, I agree with other posters that you should probably leave this relationship.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 20-Jan-13 14:35:23

I've just been to a birthday party attended by my friend's child. Said hold is really hard to like, but it doesn't matter because I see her once in a while and I can pretend. It's perfectly acceptable not to like someone, of course it is, but it will have a detrimental effect on her because you are with her so much.
If you feel your relationship with her father has already run it's course I'd say move on, what would be the point of staying?

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sun 20-Jan-13 14:36:00

OP, I just have a question, something in your one of your post made me think. Does your sd have special needs issues, a developmental delay or learning difficulty?

millie30 Sun 20-Jan-13 14:41:12

I see threads on here where mothers are living with partners who don't like their children and they are told they need to end the relationships because they shouldn't force their children to live with adults who dislike them. I think you should treat your stepdaughter with the same decency that you would expect for your own DD- you have already said you wouldn't tolerate your DP feeling this way about your own child so why would you stay and subject someone else's child to it?

You cannot help how you feel but you can help by not contributing to an emotionally harmful environment for this child.

WakeyCakey Sun 20-Jan-13 14:47:43

You definitely need to walk away.
I don't get on with my DSD all the time, she is lazy and spoilt and quite frankly bright enough to know her eyelashes are a winner when it comes to her dad. But I love her, I'm head over heels for her half the time because she is my DPs and I see parts of him in her that are loving and hilarious at the same time.

If I felt the way you do I would go. She only has one childhood and she is never going to love you if she sees that you dislike her and wish she wasn't there. You are setting her up to have a shit relationship in her life for no reason.

You need to be kind to her because she is only a child, her parents are divorced, she didn't get a choice in that.
Her dad moved on, again who consulted her?
And the woman that her dad chose to bring in to her life clearly dislikes he and she can't do anything about it.
You wouldn't wish a relationship like this on your DD so you need to walk away to give this girl her childhood back.

I hope you see this as constructive not nasty, you chose to be with a man with a DD so you need to accept that he will always put her fist as he should! Time to start afresh with your DD and remove yourselves from this before you become totally toxic towards this girl.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 16:17:57

Thank you for your replies.

I would like to say that although she irritates me, I am nice to her! We cuddle, we hold hands, we laugh etc - although I don't deny that my annoyance is always this well hid, particularly when it comes to arguments between the two of them, I probably have less patience where SD is concerned. Again, I'm ashamed of myself for being like this, just being honest.

Thinking about it, I don't think it's correct of me to say I have always disliked her. At the start of our relationship things were different - I think it probably changed with the onset of the difficult ex (and me unfairly projecting my feelings towards her on to SD)

I'd also like to point out that I certainly HAVE done as much as I can to make her feel welcome (while being aware my underlying feelings will be evident at some points as described above) by I don't know, making sure we cook things I know she likes or do things I know she will enjoy. This has probably waned recently though if I'm honest with myself.

Both DD and DS are the same age, 7.

No, she has no developmental delay, just a mum who is more concerned with taking her shopping than to the library.

As for the poster asking about if I have just expected my partner to make the effort - not at all. I have suggested we go out on date nights, suggested places we could go, attempted to initiate affection and made my feelings known that I wasn't happy and could we please do something about it.

A good friend of mine put things in to perspective for me recently, telling me about how her relationship with her dad, and her own children's relationship with their grandfather is much less than it could be because of the step mum/stepnan who has an obvious dislike for them. I don't want to be that person.

I know I need to just make a decision. You all make it sound so easy when you say walk away. But it's not that easy when yo love and care for someone who has made you feel happier and more understood than you ever knew possible.

I'm just a right grumpy cow because I'm so confused. He said to me today "I don't want to start hating you"... I suppose that's sign enough I'm making everyone miserable and although it's a decision I don't want to make - maybe it is best if I leave.

kittybiscuits Sun 20-Jan-13 16:43:23

Hi OP, glad you are seeking support around this and I do appreciate your honesty. Two things struck me about your post. You have redecorated your 'spare room' for when SD comes to stay. I find this very telling, and it does not feel at all as if you see SD as part of your family. Also, I am unconvinced that you are successfully hiding your dislike of your SD - kids can be pretty astute about knowing who does and doesn't like them. One suggestion, as I believe you're not too sure yourself exactly what this is about. How about keeping a diary when SD is around, noting your reactions, and seeing if you can really get to grips with what it is about her that you are reacting to, or getting triggered by?

DoodlesNoodles Sun 20-Jan-13 16:51:00

missmaryp. Your post made me sad. I am sorry you are having a hard time and hope things improve for everyone involved. Good luck.

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