AIBU to want to have little or nothing to do with....(17 Posts)
One of my Step kids? I'm going to sound like a very nasty woman but, I've had it. Totally.
History. Married 2 yrs. Lovely DH had 3 kids from previous marriage. His ex ended their marriage with her long running affair. I came along 3 years later. Eldest SD... Is 22 and lovely. Middle boy has periodically ignored me and his dad has asked him not to. He's 21 so we see little of him as he's at Uni. Youngest SD, at 17, is just not very nice. Over the past two years, I've been welcoming, put up with her vitriolic outbursts about how much she detests me and how "precious" me and my young son are. I have always tried to smooth things over when this has happened. Sent her a card saying "let bygones be bygones....start afresh" and so on.
Now, we haven't seen her for over a month because I asked her to sort her room out. I'd closed the door on the tip for nearly 2 yrs. Only went in to change bed and put in clean towels.....and the smell of dirty bodies and sweat hit me. Her dad supported me in saying "do something with this room, or I'll take a bin bag to it". Also, she had people sleeping in our (DH and my) bed when we were on holiday. Didn't ask, didn't tell us, didn't change the bedding etc. I was not happy. I know she is not very kind to other people to.....someone recently asked me how I "cope" with her. I'm not sure I want to anymore. Not sure I can be bothered making the effort.
Last week, she informed her dad she'd be over at the weekend. She didnt come, she didnt call....she went to London with a friend and didnt feel the need to let us know. Her visits, are quite regimented as this is just how its always been..... So, when she feels like it, she will grace us with a return visit. But, I'm not sure I want her to. DH has said that there is no reason for her to dislike me, he cannot fault anything I've done etc but, clearly we are not going to get on.....
I haven't taken to disliking her overnight. There's been a good deal of stuff that's happened and I just don't want it anymore. She defeats me.
AIBU to want her to just go away and stop poking me (metaphorically speaking) with a stick?
No, I can empathise.
How about taking her to a neutral venue and telling her exactly how you feel? How do you think she could handle the truth?
You could then tell your DH that you have tried to mend bridges but...
Next time she knocks on your door say "oh I'm sorry, it's not convienient right now" and close the door. (If she has a key, change your locks) It's YOUR home. You're not obligated to like her just because she's related to your husband and child. If she's a cow, she's a cow.
She's a teenager and needs her Dad in her life. I wouldn't turn my back on her at a time when she still needs her family.
If a stranger, or a friend, behaved like that in your house, you'd kick them into touch, quite rightly.
Unfortunately, for you,this is your husband's daughter and there is that unconditional love thing going on (think of how you feel about your child)
I can understand you not liking her. Nowhere is it written that a stepmother has to. But you have to understand that she is as important to your husband as your own child is to you.
If she behaves badly, then yes, she needs to be told. By him, I'd say, not you. Just don't ever make him choose.
Don't listen to pom bear. That would be unfair on her and the quickest way to alienate your DH.
tbh although I am sure it is hard to live with, none of what you posted sounds terrible for a 17 year old. Rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless and a disgusting bedroom - lots of teenagers are like that. The difference is usually have love for them that helps you through these times.
And 17 is still very young.
It's a tough one. It's lucky dh supports you because like it or not, she's part of your life now you're with him. At 17 she is a young adult who is likely to be very angry and acting out. None of which justifies her treatment of you, but she is still young. Give her time. Carry on being the adult in the relationship. Our (step) kids cock things up sometimes, but we help them pick up the pieces and hopefully be a better person.
If you'd said she was, say, 25 my advice would be very different. But at 17, you still need to be in her life while you're with her dad.
Just wanted to say as well that your DC will learn "lessons" from how your SD is treated.
What I mean is that as a child my dad had left his wife and 2 kids for my mum! My mum made it difficult for him to see his 2 kids and complained a lot about any bad behaviour. I think as a result, my dad saw less and less of them, until he didn't see them at all.
As a result as kids, I my brother and sister, all thought that if my mum and dad split up, my dad may have ended up not keeping in contact with any of us. We didn't say this at the time, but as adults we ended up talking about this and all agreed that it did make us feel insecure about my dad's love and concern.
My dad didn't do anything horrible to us - he was a very loving and caring dad. But kids aren't stupid, they also come to conclusions about what adults may do in a certain situation based on their current behaviour. So if you succeeded in getting SD out of the way, that may have some impact on your DC.
She will grow up, possibly (hopefully) nicer, so you need to make sure you have behaved perfectly or she will totally resent you forever. I think her dad needs to step up more, not you. Re sleeping in your bed, not turning up etc -your DH should lead the way on this with both of you presenting a united front. Your DH sounds like he's been soft with her over the years so he's finding it hard now. It is a bit late to start disciplining her like a child and expect her to do it.
I suggest a family conference. Yes I know it's a bit cheesy but I think you need to pull things together. Gather everyone round. Invite them all over for dinner. Say you want to talk about how things are and ask them to think up beforehand the things they want to change. Treat them like adults. Ask them what they think the solution is. You can pull this together because you have got a loooong time ahead of not getting on and I can tell you it will only get worse, left to itself, not better. The situation needs some direction. The 21yo boy concerns me. Just because he's not making life awkward doesn't mean he's ok with it all. Get the older girl on side, if you get on with her. Ask her to help round her brother and sister up.
Read How to Talk so Kids will Listen. Yes they are all miles too old but I think YOU will benefit from it.
We've done the family conference before but it all goes belly up again. And I guess that's my point. My son is ten. I taught him from a very young age that "sorry only works if you don't keep doing "it""
I feel worn down by it.
I'd never suggest changing the locks. My DH was up for taking her key off her after the last incident which I was against. I don't think she'll change personally.
What about family counselling for your DH and his DD? Since theirs is the primary relationship in all this and sounds like it could do with some work.
Meanwhile, I think that (despite provocation) it'd be best to bumble along and try to maintain some kind of relationship, and take advice from the step-parent section on MN when it all gets too much!
On the filthy bedroom, though, I would be tough and warn her that unless she cleans out the room by a certain time, you will, then follow through. Somewhere on MN there's a great (long!) thread on teens' bedrooms and bin-bagging and stuff!
She's 17. Of course she will change!
But until then, if she is behaving badly, you don't have to have anything to do with her.
You should never close the door on her completely, and you must make sure that your dh still spends time with her. I don't think you can say that she can't stay at your house, because that's your dh descision, and unless she has done something really really bad, it wouldn't say much for him as a parent if he turned her away.
You are not her parent though, and if you want to hide in your room/go out/spend all day in the bathroom when she visits, then that is up to you.
Do you talk to her mother at all? What does she say?
I think 17 can be very young when divorce has been involved at a formative age (to coin a cliche, sorry).
She would have been 15 when you married her dad. About 12 when her parents split up. That can be tough.
She's acting out, and it's a pain, sure, but she needs and wants love from her dad and she needs structure and boundaries and she probably wants quite a lot from you too by the sound of it. If you can, talk to her and keep on trying. You're saying you don't want to though, because you're worn down with it, understandably - which is why I agree that it is reasonable to ask your husband to take the lead here for a while. And/but he should certainly show he is acting 'tough' out of love, not anger.
As someone whose parents split up at that kind of age, I cannot begin to describe the hurt I kept bottled up inside and the stupid ways I messed up everything around me.
definitely clear out her room and leave it cleared out - bed unmade etc so that when she comes to visit, she's a visitor and it is clear that the bed is made up for the time she is there then stripped when she leaves. Aside from that, don't engage with her, just facilitate your DH's relationship with her and no more. You don't have to like each other.
But, carabos, that kind of unkindness, not to be welcoming and provide a comfortable "home" goes against what is my basic nature. Won't I then be ostracised as the wicked stepmother?
It wasn't too long ago, I thought of leaving. I absolutely hate friction and bad feeling. DH has a good relationship with his kids. He and his ex don't communicate, ever. They don't need counselling but I just wish he'd tell her we all need to try to get on. Her as well. Yes, she's only 17 but she's a very privileged, much adored youngster who looks down her nosevat me, and others, like a bad smell.
It's hard to like that.
Won't I then be ostracised as the wicked stepmother? Not any different to how she's treating you now really?
It's not a bad idea actually. Door is always open, but strip down the room inc bed, leave clean sheets etc on bed for her to make. Perhaps she may come to appreciate that you're not there to do everything for her.
Dh has suggested, to avoid bad feeling, he maybe sees her away from the home. I think this is a good idea (because I'm worn down entirely by this girl) and I think it's a bad idea (because it sets up a way that's not acceptable for the long term/future). Also, I think she ought to be told her behaviour has been unacceptable but WE ARE A UNIT, DH AND I AND WE'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG!! We'd like an apology and then a little more respect for our home and the way that up to now, I've behaved under difficult conditions without totally losing it.
But that won't happen.
I want her to understand that however you treat people comes right back at you......and being a teenager is not an excuse for manipulation and unkindness.
Join the discussion
Please login first.