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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


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).

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.

DistanceCall Sun 20-Jan-13 16:52:23

Look, you don't have to leave your partner if you love him. But you do have to accept the fact that he has a daughter, and he is not going to be with a woman who mistreats his daughter.

You should start seeing that little girl as a person in her own right, not as an extension of her mother. She's not as mature as your own daughter? So? People are different. You don't have to be friends with her. You daugher doesn't have to be best friends with her. But she should feel that when she comes to her father's house she's at home, not in the "spare room".

If you can't REALLY accept this and stop projecting your own problems onto her then, leave, definitely.

Perhaps talking to someone who has professional qualifications might help. Sounds like you have some issues (as we all do, mind you).

MeaninglessStrife Sun 20-Jan-13 16:54:04

You've had lots of advice on this thread and i think that from the things that you are saying about this little girl, you really do need therapy.

and what struck a cord for me from your OP - you decorated your spare room for her to stay in ? Perhaps she would feel more at home and generally more comfortable and secure if she actually had her own bedroom, or her own shared room with your own DD so that she doesn't feel like a weekend guest?

AltinkumATEalltheTurkey Sun 20-Jan-13 16:54:18

Tbf, to the OP, I have a friend whose child is very hard work, and who I whilst don't dislike. Find her hugely hard work and extreamly irritating.

She is over bearing, constantly demands her own way and if she doesn't she will physically lash out, and scar the child, if she doesn't get her own way she just becomes vile, running on roads, hitting other children, not allowing other children to play, throws food etc...

It has for to the point that her mother has to tell her brother not to run into school or ahead of her as she doesn't like to lose and she must win at all times, she even asked me to wait outside the school gate as she was having major temper tantrums because my son beat her to school.

This is partly a parenting issue, but the little girl is so strong willed, and head strong it just makes her very hard work to like.

ReindeerBollocks Sun 20-Jan-13 17:01:33

My eldest DC can be extremely irritating at times. Sometimes DC1 regresses and uses a silly voice or doesn't do things that I know he can do. But there are many things to counter balance this, and even when he's being irritating I know I love him.

I don't think it's ok to be in a step parent relationship and hate the child. It's damaging to the step child and they will notice/it will affect the relationship that you have. Is different from not liking a friends child as ultimately you provide a caring environment for this child that you wouldn't ordinarily do for a friends DC.

My experience was that my step parent hated me. I was 4 when we first met and I was a daddys girl. She thought that it was pathetic. She often undermined me and was always putting me down (everything from the way I acted/what I read/my figure as I became a teenager). Nothing I did was good enough and if I did something better than her DC were capable of then I was be sneered at and ridiculed. This went on for years and I was always second best.

Please, please leave this relationship. It's not your fault or hers but do the decent thing and let this girl grow up without the animosity that will exist during her visits with you and her father. It's not fair on either of you.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 20-Jan-13 17:02:34

My own experience is that encouraging a DSC to feel 'at home' in the NRP house when the RP is resistant makes things a lot worse for the DC.

If the OPs DSD considers her contact with her Dad to be 'visits' then the OP referring to her DSD as a member of the family could do more harm than good.

OP - you're doing better than you give yourself credit for; I don't have a huggy relationship with my DSC after more than three years - it takes time!

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 17:02:37

I do feel the need to defend myself a little as I think you've misunderstood about the room. It WAS the spare room, that I decorated so she had her own room. She complained to her mother that she didn't have any toys of her own here, and although she does, they are all jumbled up with my own daughters so obviously didn't feel that way to her.

To try and rectify this so she did feel like this was her own home, I decorated the room as pink as possible, as she is very girly, put away all her clothes (which I bought so she has her own wardrobe here, as previously she would just bring an overnight change from home) in drawers and wardrobe, put up pictures she had drawn on the wall and brought her a new doll waiting on the bed as the 'icing on the cake'. I remember how it felt being the stepchild, and I did this all in an effort to make her feel like she has her own space rather than just had to share all of my own daughters things (while of course, still promoting sharing!). I suggested to my partner that we go to a car boot and give her £10 to spend on whatever she wanted to put in her room to make it her own (we couldn't afford to do much else) but he didn't think this was necessary. I don't drive and they are all unreachable by public transport otherwise I'd have taken her myself.

ReindeerBollocks Sun 20-Jan-13 17:03:42

Ps. It doesn't matter how nice you can be - your true feelings will be shining through. My stepmum didn't always behave in a vile way, often she was nice. But there was ALWAYS the undercurrent of dislike and your stepdaughter will be aware of it.

LineRunner Sun 20-Jan-13 17:14:24

Hi OP. Are you mad at your DP for what you think is his poor parenting?

Think you're brave btw. And yes, agree that you should talk to someone professional because your life sounds quite difficult emotionally tbh.

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

Yes, I think poorly of him because I don't think he is a very good parent.

LineRunner Sun 20-Jan-13 17:26:53

Do you talk about it much? (Talk and listen kind of talking, not just frustrated discussion.) Is he better or the same with your own DD?

Must be hard.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 17:32:11

It's been difficult, because he has often been defensive (understandably) when I have suggested he could be more involved. Recently he has been more receptive, a little.

He's very fair with them both, he is kind and funny. He's probably about the same with both. But my DD isn't his daughter, so I wouldn't expect him to come to her parents evening - although, it would have been nice is he would have come to her xmas performance with me, which he declined.

I do expect him to be involved with his own daughter parents evenings, which he doesn't. I've also suggested he needs to spend more time alone with her, because she comes to see him not us - but he doesn't agree, he wants it to be all happy families.

pansyflimflam Sun 20-Jan-13 17:35:18

I know someone just like you except she has three sdcs. She thinks she is being fine, she would say the same as you but in reality she is vile to those children. it is almost imperceptible but she really dislikes them and they know. Children do not have delays in sentence formation and immaturity because of too many shopping tips and a lack of trips to the library..... I know you would never judge your own dd like this. Your lack of kindness and generosity to this child is astonishing. Get out of there, you have no right to inflict yourself on this child (who after all had no choice in any of the decisions you and your DP made)

ReindeerBollocks Sun 20-Jan-13 17:41:22

Even if you think your DO doesn't parent his Dd in the same way as you parent your DD it really doesn't detract from your apparent lack of feeling towards his daughter.

It must be difficult for you to see him parent in a different way - I know the same feeling when DH and I have different ways of parenting our DC. But there seems to be a range of reasons why you don't like this little girl - everything from her being irritating and whiny/because her mother is awkward/now it's your DH's fault.

I think it s brave of you to try to make an effort - but i think you will always be able to find a reason to dislike this child. If the relationship isn't working anyway then maybe it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways.

ReindeerBollocks Sun 20-Jan-13 17:42:32


AmberLeaf Sun 20-Jan-13 17:43:06

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

Why doesn't her dad take her to the library?

As with many many scenarios like this, it appears to be about your DH being a bit of a shit parent.

Was he always so uninvolved? Maybe you have projected your feelings about that onto his daughter from the start.

LineRunner Sun 20-Jan-13 17:45:54

OP, I think your DP is trying to have the best of both worlds whilst making minimum real actual effort; and using a supposed animosity with an Ex to avoid parents' evenings and other parental responsibilities is pretty poor. And I may be wrong but I imagine he blames you a bit when you challenge him on this.

I suppose I can't really see it improving, sadly.

missmaryp Sun 20-Jan-13 17:47:49

I think he made more of an effort all round at the start, because that's what people often do at the start of relationships?

He does take her to the library, but he also only sees her for a day and a half once a fortnight... That said, there is plenty of research about the very positive effect that a dad being involved in school has on a child, so of course he could do a lot more. I'm probably being unfair on the ex and definitely being judgemental, but from what SD reports back there is a strong emphasis on shopping and appearance above all else.

AmberLeaf Sun 20-Jan-13 17:58:06


Stop blaming your DPs EX, you really don't know what she does and it is your DP that doesn't take an interest in her schooling not the EX!

Id walk if I were you.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 20-Jan-13 18:13:39

Firstly, I admire your honesty and that you are trying to do something about the situation.

"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".

Out of interest, does anybody give their time to help her with these problems? She probably feels very inadequate compared to your daughter.

alicetrefusis Sun 20-Jan-13 18:18:12

I grew up in an unhappy step-family scenario. The tensions were awful. I too find I form immediate and irrational dislike of certain children so it's as well I'm child-free, and especially step-child free.

I absolutely feel for all of you. It can't be easy. Please also think about the effect on your DD - she too will be picking up on the bad vibes and unhappiness. It may be as well to call it quits. I agree that therapy would help. Good luck. I think you have been very brave and honest.

Don't give up on your relationship until you are 100% sure you have done everything you possibly can to make things better, including encouraging your DH to review his parenting style. I can imagine you are really tired of this situation and you sound miserable but if you have no idea of what the solution (other than leaving) may be then you will be miserable.

Sometimes looking at things from a differently can give you a more positive perspective. Being in a stepfamily is a really challenging life to live and every hurdle you can get through will make you stronger for the next one.

You can have therapy, you can ask your DH to step up more as a parent but neither of these mean you have to give up your relationship.

Good luck.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 20-Jan-13 19:25:49

I agree with JaquelineHyde's earlier post.

I' not a step parent, but I have experinced dislike of children of even close friends. But I think my love for my friends makes me make that effort ( as you are trying to do) to see the best in them and respect that, and it has always worked.

But if I was irritated by and disn't respect their parent, I think I might find it harder. In your situation, I think this is a lot about you relationship with your DP. I think you need to address that urgently, for everyone ( not least her ) sake.

Varya Sun 20-Jan-13 19:32:28

I am an adult step-daughter and my step mum has always been affectionate with me and I love her. However her daughter has clear reservations about me and is very possessive of her husband around me. I would never be invited to sleep over at their house and they said they 'did not know' of any hotels near them for me to stay and go to see them. Total B-zit. By this I take it that they don't want me in their lives, but like me to drive my step mum to theirs for a visit.

Pollykitten Sun 20-Jan-13 20:17:51

a day and a half once a fortnight - that doesn't seem like much. I know every situation is different but I had my step children for 50% of the time which is obviously quite intense. Maybe you all need to see more, not less of her and then the whole situation would seem more natural?

ZZZenAgain Tue 22-Jan-13 18:04:46

I don't think it is true that every adult can feel great affection for every dc if the good intentions are there. I can well believe that you simply don't get along with this little girl and that your dd doesn't either and that it is not entirely down to the relationship issues. If she were another pupil in dd's class you might well feel the same about her as you do now, you just wouldn't be brought together so much.

I think you would manage the whole situation much easier if dh was spending a lot of time with his dd during her visits and was even out and about with her, just the two of them together. He doesn't seem to have much interest in his dd tbh. I suppose since he does not sound particularly involved, you feel it is all down to you as the mother figure in the household to care for all the dc there and this is making you grumpy, it is being thrust on you. Maybe he is a nice enough man but not someone who is generally that comfortable 1-1 with dc

It is not the major issue here but I wondered if anyone had considered having dsd's hearing checked out and thought about speech therapy. At 7, she is coming to an age where the speech problems could do with being tackled. I wonder how she is emotionally and whether this speech delay is related. Do you think the sdd is happy in your home when she comes to visit, happy with the situation and close to her father? It must be hard for her if your home is generally a happy one to come for a day or so and see your dd ensconsced there. Maybe she wishes she was?

KitchenandJumble Tue 22-Jan-13 19:25:49

What a difficult situation. It is good that you recognise that you, as the adult, are responsible for your behaviour. I know it is fashionable to say that all feelings are valid, but I don't think that means we must sit back in helpless thrall to our negative feelings. It is entirely possible to make conscious decisions to change our responses to other people and of course to change how we behave.

I know someone who often says, "Love is a verb." And she's right. She is an adoptive mother to several children who came to live with her at older ages, from some pretty traumatic backgrounds. She didn't love those children right away, but she nevertheless behaved in a loving way toward them. Her acts of love led to feelings of love, not the other way around.

It really isn't fair to take your negative feelings about other people out on your DSD. But of course you know that. If you choose to stay in this relationship, it is imperative that you begin to connect with your DSD as a person in her own right. She isn't her mother, she isn't your daughter, she is who she is. And she has every right to have her own likes and dislikes, her own personality quirks, her own way of speaking.

Anyone who has spent a childhood with an unloving, disapproving stepparent knows how damaging and soul-destroying it can be. And I would be willing to bet anything you like that your DSD knows exactly how you feel about her. So I applaud you for admitting this problem and being open to changing your behaviour and attitude.

One other thing I would say would be to make very sure you don't set up an "us and them" dynamic, with you and your DD on one side and your DSD on the other side. Although I'm sure it is tempting to do so, it is really unfair and could damage not only your relationship with your DD but also the relationship between the stepsisters.

Ra88 Tue 22-Jan-13 21:55:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HungryHippo89 Tue 22-Jan-13 22:44:09

First of all ... Ignore the tosser above. You are not a horrible person!!
I have no advice really but I wanted to know you are not alone with the feelings towards your DSD... I too feel the same towards mine. They are also the same age. However I've just started to treat her as a person as opposed to labelling it a step relationship ... Detach where possible. I could of written your post myself ... DC is rude and talks down to people, cannot eat properly with a knife and fork is unable to put toys away .. I also do not find any endearing about DC ... But it might make it better to just view her as a person instead of a step child ...

katiesdad Thu 24-Jan-13 23:08:48

I am on the receiving end of what you are talking about and it cripples me. I am a dad who was a single dad for 2 years from2005 (mum buggered off to find herself for 2 years). Met wonderful wife in 2007, who was wonderful to my 3-year old and then we got married when my daughter was 5. Since then my wife has been tricky towards my dauhgter and in the last year has become down-right horrible. my wife says she does not like my daughter. Daughter is now 8. I have 50/50 custody with daughter's mother (who came back in 2008). My wife wants me to change custody so that I am a weekend-dad every fortnight. I don't want this and I really don't think it is best for my daughter who is used to 50/50.
My wife's attitiude, behaviour, language towards my daughter is really tough and harsh.
We also have a 16-month old boy who is centre of everyones' attention.
How do I resolve this? I love my wife. I love my daughter. But, in my opinion the children always come first. Adults should adapt.
Any advice /strategy gratefully received.

KatiesDad that sounds like a really difficult situation and it's interesting to hear it from a father's perspective. It would be worth starting your own thread for advice.

Mynabrid Wed 16-Oct-13 23:29:38

Hi, I just came across this and I know it was some time ago but I felt the need to post. You are not an evil person. Step parenting is extremely difficult for so many reasons. Ignore the sanctimonious idiots who want to make you feel bad, who probably have no idea what having to try to care for someone's else's child, in the face of a great deal of abuse/stress and acrimony from an ex wife/partner, is like. I am in a similar situation. There is nothing wrong with my stepdaughter but after six years of crap from her mother and having our lives ruled by this situation, on every level, through the birth of our two young sons, I hate her. I am not ashamed to say so as her existence has ruined so many memories and experiences for me, which should have been happy. I have been told several times that I should be the grown up, etc... Etc... But this is so hard to do when, in the face of everyday difficulties that life throws at you, you have to try to deal with constant additional pressure from an external situation that, most likely, when you entered the relationship, you thought would calm down over time but never did. Be gentle with yourself and get some counselling. I've just started some and I think it will be helpful. It is so hard being positive about the presence of a child in your life that you have little emotional attachment to, or investment in, who is going to be fiercely loyal to someone who makes your life regularly miserable, who is rude, vindictive and abusive to you. When this child takes away a huge amount of attention from you/your children and whose presence dictates so much of your life/time, not just practically but emotionally too, it is so hard to have a positive attitude towards them. Yes, she is a child and requires love/attention/positive relationship with her father, but when that takes so much away from you/ your children, it's so hard to be positive and care about them and to resist blaming your husband for the stress caused. He has an emotional investment and has to take the crap, but you don't and the resentment just builds. There are so many of us out there battling with these complex feelings. You are not alone or a bad person. I hope things have got better for you!

Mynabrid Wed 16-Oct-13 23:48:03

Hi, katiesdad not sure if you are still here but thought I'd put in my view, just in case! It sounds like a horrible situation for you. I, like your wife was very positive and supportive of my husbands situation in the first few years but over time have struggled. Mainly because the pregnancy of my first son was spent with us being dragged through court to reduce contact and now she thinks we are her personal childminders so tries to dump their daughter on us when it suits her, regardless of what plans we might have. I thought I might feel differently when I had my own children but in fact, it has increased my resentment as now I feel wholly committed to my own children and resent anything that affects the kind of parent I can be to them due to the additional stress caused by the presence of a child that I have little emotional attachment to. Even small things like bickering over contact arrangements makes my blood boil. I am sick of how much time and energy I expend not being able to focus on my own children because of it. I don't know if your situation is similar, but it is so wearing for me. At the same time I feel awful for my husband who is stuck in the middle but has to take a the crap from his ex and accepts it as he has an emotional investment in it. Although I would hate for his ex to break up our marriage (which is what she wants) I have considered leaving him because I just any take any more stress. We are about to start couples counselling and I think this would be useful in trying to help you and your wife appreciate how the other feels... Just a suggestion

Jan45 Thu 17-Oct-13 10:19:50

Do you know what, if that's how you feel then it's going to be very hard to change those feelings, and you're right, some folk will just grate on us, whoever they are. You're not a bad person, you're human and you also have the comparison with your daughter and how you've brought her up.

Tbh, I would be as pleasant as you can possible muster towards her, which I guess you probably already are, other than that, this girl has two parents so you don't need to do anything you don't want to, ie, looking after her etc or taking on parental duties.

As she grows, the dislike you feel may subside, but be prepared, it may not. My sister had her partner's son move in with them and she couldn't stand it, not because she disliked him or he was badly behaved, just simply because she didn't want him there, doesn't make her bad or evil, just honest.

You will have to make compromises in a step family no doubt about it but you don't have to pretend anything, be nice to her, bite your tongue.

I know it sounds simple but with regards to her rearing, honestly, I would stay as uninvolved as possible.

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 17-Oct-13 18:23:13

You sound like you don't particularly like your partner or his child. So yes, leave. You only get one life and it sounds as if you are all miserable with this set up.

itsmeisntit Thu 17-Oct-13 18:46:06

Zombie thread alert

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 17-Oct-13 18:56:53

Oops, didn't notice!

SwishYouToASwazzle Thu 17-Oct-13 19:20:04

Your DSD- does she pick up on your feelings towards her? The last thing you want, is this little girl to grow up with feelings of insecurity and inferiority. Would you want your own DD to feel this way? I often find it difficult with my Dnieces and Dnephews because they are raised differently to my own DC (different culture and language) and it can be very tough, but I try to treat them the same as my own DC. My view is that they have the same love and discipline that I give to my own, and they have to learn this is what Aunty does. I always thought the eldest nephew didn't like me very much, but he's just got his first phone (12 yo) and he messages me daily to ask how I am! All I'm saying is that you need to put your DSD first.

Retroformica Thu 17-Oct-13 19:27:45

I think you need to sit down and make a bloody huge long list of things you do like about her. And then tell her! Doing this helped me learn to love my SD.. You need to be objective and think of her as she is and not in terms of ex relationships. You need counselling if you can't move forward.

Maybe you need to spend some 1 to 1 time building a bond? Do something special together. Find a link.

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