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

(123 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.

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.

SparkleSoiree Sun 20-Jan-13 18:38:04

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?

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