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Anyone have the patience to read this again and advise? (two years on!!)

(28 Posts)
MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 09:14:56

I posted the information/situation below in June last year. The problem was already 12 months old, even then Nothing has changed....

DH has continued to try to keep the communication channels open with estranged youngest daughter. It's been pretty much one sided. He has seen his dd twice in the past year though we have both seen his elder two as much as you can when they live away and are working and busy.

This Xmas just gone he invited his 3 over on Christmas Eve. I said it would be nice for him just to have a meal with his "kids" without any tension so, I'd do a bit of last minute shopping, with a friend. I didn't want their first "together" meet in 18 months to be tense. When youngest SD knew I wouldn't be there at the house (she asked the question of her siblings) she said yes, she'd come over.

Christmas Eve..... I went out. DH prepared food. Kids came. At first mention of my name, dh saying it was a shame we couldn't just all get on and be together, youngest daughter walked out. So, second year running, everyone's upset. I came home and was sad to find that even with me gone (I'd had a lovely time!) I'd caused upset. His eldest daughter said later that her and youngest had rowed because she'd decided to come round again on Boxing Day to see me as she was sorry shed missed me. Youngest SD saw even this as a betrayal. I get on well with two of them, by the way.

A few weeks ago, we were picking up eldest (24) to go for lunch. We saw youngest SD there (we had no idea she was home) and said hello. She only acknowledged her dad (I was sat next to him) and walked off. DH was upset but also something new..... Really angry with her. He wanted to discuss it but I said that wouldn't be fair on eldest and might spoil her lunch with us.

We've heard nothing since. It goes on and on and on. I feel a bit like poor old Richard III.... I've been given a withered arm and crook back (metaphorically speaking) since the original disagreement, 2 years ago. The situation SD has caused is becoming irrevocable. I was apparently very sneaky and quite cruel to her, when no one was looking shock It would be funny if it weren't so unjust and hurtful. I have no idea how she wants this to end but so much time has elapsed and so much has been inferred about me, that I cannot imagine any time, in the future, where I can be in the same room with her.


Original Post June 2012

Remarried 3 yrs ago. Went out for 4 yrs prior. Was nothing to do with dh's divorce....his ex had affair. He left. Get on well with two of dh's kids. They're 24 and 22. Youngest is 18. Always been resentful of me but we dh and I, worked hard to help her, made allowances, tried.

Last year, we had to tackle her over two issues which were not negotiable. Dh and I have remained true to our "issue" whilst trying to maintain contact and reassure her, that she's still loved/welcome etc.

It's coming up on 11 months now. Sd is adamant that SHE WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH DAD BECAUSE OF ME. Dh supports me, as he knows she just dislikes me and I've done nothing, ever, to warrant this.

He misses her, obviously. He's said he won't do "separate" contact ie, "I'll meet with you dad, but she can't come/mustn't be mentioned". This is what sd wants. I'm now at the stage where, I don't want to be a part of this bad feeling/unreasonable control by his daughter. But, he says, if he agrees to only EVER see her with her stipulated guarantee that she doesn't have to be reminded of my existence then, she has "won".

I'm sick to death of it.

It's a mess. What would you do?"

MaryRose Thu 07-Mar-13 11:56:00

I don't really know what to suggest, we have a similar though not quite so bad situation with my 14 year old SD, she only comes when she feels like it, wants her dad to herself, she used to love me but all changed when our DS was born five years ago and she started having to share her dad, she takes no time for a little brother and isn't bothered, DH's ex fuels all of this as she hates me, it's soul destroying isn't it? (if you feel like a real laugh see the separate post of mine on the missing necklace). At least you have a loving and supportive DH who will not stand to see you treated badly, try and hold onto that fact, sending a hug, not much help I know xx

flurp Thu 07-Mar-13 12:43:20

I think that although she is acting like a spoilt little brat this girl is an adult now and you will have to accept that you and her will never get on. Good for your DH for standing up for you - it must upset him to see her behave so horribly.
All you can do is let her get on with it and take comfort in the fact that you have a good relationship with the others.

FrauMoose Thu 07-Mar-13 12:56:24

Wonder if it's partly the age. Stepdaughter wanting to be adult, having adult relationship with father, and choosing who she does and doesn't want to see. My stepdaughter had a sort of explosion at university - it was partly triggered by my involvement in a problem she got into when travelling abroad - which culminated in her writing to my husband saying she'd never liked me, didn't want any interference from me and didn't want to have to see me any more. After trying unsuccessfully to set up some meetings when she was in our home town at university holidays. He told her very clearly that he and I were a couple, we talked about things including stuff to do with her, that that was couples did. Also that while she didn't have to like me, she needed to acknowledge that I had worked hard in helping to look after her and to bring her up. I'd have been okay about him seeing her to go out for a curry outside the house, but my own daughter - step-daughter's little sister - wouldn't have understood this. My stepdaughter did want to come round and visit after the end of term, but she and I went out to a cafe first. I think what she had really wanted was more reassurance that her father cared about her. (Which he obviously did, but he is quite a reticent character. I had been quite an upfront involved step-parent.) In our case the problems did get resolved, I am pleased to say. I think it's a question of when to be flexible with older children and step-children. When to say, 'Okay we can do this differently.' And when to say, 'No this is the boundary. This is how it it is. I am really sorry if you don't like it, but this one is non-negotiable.'

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 16:43:42

You may be right FrauMoose. When she was 11 and 12 plus, allowances were made. I walked on egg shells and tried not to get too upset when I was stonewalled by this little girl. As a teenager, same thing really. By the time she reached 17 it took a nasty turn and because her dad did not support her against me (he couldn't really, I'd done nothing wrong) she ceased contact. Her dad is a brilliant dad. His first marriage ended when his wife had an affair and I met him years later.

As for her wanting an adult relationship with dad, I'm note entirely sure that's it. She wants dad to agree with her, denounce me and be able to continue to ignore me because he agrees with her....I am fundamentally a horrid person. This, will not happen for her. My DH is highly principled and he has a clear picture of what's right and wrong and this time, SD is in the wrong.

As I say, it's a mess. I'm amazed I've had any replies at all because the only advice I'd give (and my close friends have given) me is "walk away from this draining situation in which you've become the whipping boy for this young woman, who doesn't want dad to have a relationship with anyone".

FrauMoose Thu 07-Mar-13 17:12:14

It sounds like you and your husband are communicating well and are in agreement, and that you have a good relationship with two out of three of the stepchildren. Maybe it's one of those sadnesses you have to live with,while being aware how much else is going really well. (Perhaps she is damaging herself most of all.) And as she become adult, it is possible she may see things in a more just, balanced way....

eslteacher Thu 07-Mar-13 17:34:46

Does her mum have a new partner/husband? Does she 'accept' him or does she treat him the same way she does you?

I guess her parents splitting must have come at a hard age for her, she's never really got over it and is trying to take it out on someone. Which as you say is one thing when you're a child, but another when you're 18 and have managed to keep up the same level of bitterness and anger for so many years...

I think you can't do much but accept the situation as it stands, really. It probably affects your DH more than you, since he is the one who has to walk the fine line between maintaining some sort of a relationship with his daughter, without over-indulging her stupid whims and grudges against you.

I'd say though that even though she is technically now an adult at 18, I think people can do a lot of growing between 18 and their mid twenties. Is she still in full time study at the moment? Maybe there's a chance that when she's experienced more of the real world: living on her own, trying to forge a career, having a serious relationship, negotiating all the niggly problems and setbacks that you experience once you're out there trying to make it on your own, she'll start to see the error of her ways and come round a bit? I think it's all you can hope for...

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 18:44:42

No idea about her mum. I do know that her affair didn't develope beyond her divorce from DH. They don't communicate at all, DH and his ex. Yes, she's in full time education but as I said, I cannot imagine a change in her basic nature toward me and my marrying her dad.

I know it's tough for kids to go through divorce. They had a very secure, financially comfortable life and dad was as I say, a really good one. I have friends whose ex partners have behaved dreadfully with regard to children and previous marriages giving love, time nor money sufficiently. DH was never, ever like that I'm relieved to say.

Thanks for replying, ladies smile

allnewtaketwo Thu 07-Mar-13 18:53:26

She sounds very dogmatic and manipulative. She's an adult, and can no longer be treated as a child. I have no particular advice, but sympathies. I'm glad you have a good relationship with the elder two. I'm rather of the belief that a leopard doesn't change it's spots. If she's nasty and manipulative at 18 then she's unlikely to change. She may outwardly eventually become more accepting in time. I do rethink though that a person's basic personality doesn't have much scope to change beyond that age.

I guess all you can do is to focus on the positive, which is your positive relationship with the other two, and the fact that your partner refuses the youngest is being unreasonable

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Thu 07-Mar-13 19:10:17

I (reluctantly) think you're right allnewtaketwo.

The other thing is, the day I saw her when she (last) ignored me, I felt physically ill. Sounds ridiculous, I know but my adrenalin must have been through the roof.... My pulse was around 120! It's got to the stage where I feel nervous about having to see her because I know, I am detested and not wanted and whatever I say will be used in evidence against me at a later date. This is because previously happy occasions have been verbally relayed back to DH and I by lovely eldest SD and they don't even resemble the actual event/what happened.

She's rather dangerous from that point of view. Sorry, don't mean to sound melodramatic.

goodiegoodieyumyum Thu 07-Mar-13 20:17:18

I have the exact opposite problem to you my fathers partner of over 20 years will have nothing to do with me or any of my three siblings, for various ridiculous reasons. Should I just give up on my dad then, no of course not, he is still my father although not always the best one.

You can't make your step daughter like you and as far as I am concerned, if she wants to see your DH without you there then you just have to accept that. She didn't choose you, her father did for whatever reason she does not want a relationship with you and you have to accept that. Obviously your husband shouldn't have to choose between you both and if she will not have a relationship with him because you exist then she will have to live without a relationship with her father.

It hurts me greatly that my dads partner wants nothing to do with me, we had a good relationship once and I have been told she won't talk to me because my DH and walked in front of her and my dad on a path on not next to them. My sister and her family are not welcome in their house because at a wedding my sister was taking my nephew 4 to the toilet and didn't stop to say hello as nephew really need to go to the toilet and couldn't wait, this was 8 years ago and she has not spoken to my sister since. I feel these are just excuses, she has just decided that she doesn't want to deal with us any more.

I have always thought that you can not make your children like some one,there may be no logical reason for it but people sometimes just do not like certain people. People can sometimes be very selfish when they find a new partner, because they are happy they expect there children to be happy unfortunately this is very often not true.

I think you need to try and accept that although you have done nothing wrong your step daughter does not like you, I know this sounds harsh but I have had to do this with my dad's partner. Who knows maybe once she had matured things will change. Try to enjoy the relationship you have with your other step daughters, if it helps my sister did not talk to my dad for a year but she did have a good reason, he left my step mum without telling us and just turned up with another woman whilst my sister was staying with him studying for her exams, we all loved our step mum and had no idea at the time that she was the reason my dad had left our mum.

Beamur Fri 08-Mar-13 00:46:25

I'm a SM and a SC myself - quite grown up now (40 something) yet there is something in my relationship with my Dad that brings out the child in me.
I suspect the same with your DH and his youngest daughter - she is an adult, yet is behaving in a horrendously emotional and immature manner.
Well done to your DH in making a hard, but measured response to that and backing you up.
But where does that leave you all?
Personally, I would probably not try to have a relationship with this young woman right now (and maybe not for many years to come) but wouldn't stand in the way of your DH in keeping in contact either.
I have to say reading goodies post how similar my 'crimes' against my SM are - apparently I walked past her at her wedding and didn't speak and that was her reasoning for not speaking to me for another 10 years...she just doesn't want to have anything to do with me and if it hadn't been this, it would have been something else equally tenuous! I've come to the conclusion that nothing I do will be right, so we just avoid any contact at all. My Dad has on occasion tried to use me as a sounding board and talk about his wife to me, but I won't have it - she would be furious if she knew and I don't want to get involved.
We exist in parallel but rarely meeting universes and you know, it's all right that way.

2rebecca Fri 08-Mar-13 08:29:41

Sounds horrible and as though you did the right thing by letting your husband and his kids have xmas eve together.
It is NOT adult to say to anyone that you will only spend time with someone if their spouses name isn't mentioned. That's silly. She has to accept you exist and are married to her father.
It may be that he has to accept he'll see less of her for a while. All he can do is keep in contact with her and offer to see her alone sometimes. He shouldn't agree to never mention your name though, although on this occasion knowing his daughter disliked mention of you I do think it's a shame he had to stir things by doing the "it's a shame we can't all get on...." that was a discussion for a different time, probably when alone with his daughter and they'd built up a positive rapor first.
It's unclear how much he's seen of his youngest daughter since the divorce. does he maybe need to try and rebuild the relationship before making her realise that a longterm relationship with him will have to include you.
There does come a time though when this daughter has to accept that if she wants to be treated like an adult that means behaving like one and not being unnecessarily mean to people or refusing to allow adults to choose their own topics for discussion. pretending someone doesn't exist is a thing kids do (and are usually supported to stop doing it) not adults.
Some non divorced parents have a poor relationship with an offspring.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Fri 08-Mar-13 08:50:20

Beamur I think you're right when you say that it's probably going to be a few more years before I have any kind of relationship with this young woman, if ever. What worries me is the effect it will have on other members of the family. I simply cannot (will not) "disappear" when DH invites his 3 to our home. But SD won't come if I'm here so, poor DH is stuck with just 2 of his 3 and me there or , all 3 but with me wandering about like some nomad because I'm so offensive to her, I have to make myself go away. And that's her objective I think, for me to just "go away".

I've always encouraged DH in seeing his kids without me. I think, I know that's important. He does it with the other 2 and they have a lovely "dad/kid" thing without me. It's very different when you're omitted on the basis of a young woman objecting to you, for no particular Eason other than your existence. It's the worst kind of 6 yr old, foot stamping, tantrum style manipulation of a person (her dad) I've ever experienced.

GoodieGoodieYumYum you too have experience as a step child and you are right when you say you can't make a child (any person, I guess) "like" you, if they just dont. I've worked with people who I might not want to socialise with outside of the job and it's not personal so, it's possible to leave it behind when you go home. However, this particular person is someone personal and very much "in" my life. I also agree with you and would often say to DH "you chose me, not your kids"; I never expected bunting and red carpet treatment when I arrived but..... Dh's ex wife had an affair, he was utterly heartbroken, he provided handsomely for her (actually for his children not the ex) in the divorce settlement, met me years later, went out with me for 4 years before we were absolutely sure of what we were doing and I think, as a good man, as an adult he should not be punished for remarrying and dare I say it, being happy.

It reached the stage where if I got anything from DH (supermarket bunch of flowers/pair of boots in the sale at a bargain price) and sd was there, I'd need to play the nice thing, whatever it was, down. Her reaction was always sullen resentment. About any attention/affection shown to me. I would encourage DH to sit next to SD on the sofa when she was there because if DH and I sat together and say, he'd reach to hold my hand, she'd leave the room. We are of a mature age (I'm now 50) so, I can assure you, we didn't sit there cuddling and ignoring his kids.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Fri 08-Mar-13 09:06:39

2rebecca true, true.

Just to add. DH lived 5 minutes from his kids. He had them over every other weekend Friday evening to Mon morning and every Wednesday evening. In the 4 years we went out before I moved 90 miles to be with him, nothing interrupted his "kid time" and I found that very reassuring about him. After all, if he was a good, loving dad to his kids and they were a big part of his life, as oppose to some distant divorced parent who saw them as and when, then he would hopefully be a kind and "there" stepdad to my son, who was 9 when we married. He is. I am very lucky, especially as my son is disabled. Dh's relationship with his kids post divorce was close, loving and 100% there for them, at a moment's notice.

My decision to be elsewhere on Xmas Eve was because I felt if I was there, Xmas Eve was NOT the time for any tension and bad feeling. Not for me, not for him, not for them. When I came home all happy I couldn't believe the occasion had gone belly up and ended in tears. The thing is, he should be able to mention my name in front of them without tears and walking out. To sit there and make like I don't exist is ludicrous.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Fri 08-Mar-13 09:12:45

I moved 90 miles to be with him because his youngest still had 12 months to complete at secondary school and would attend a local college, again, close to our home. It was easier for me to move than for him NOT to live 5 minutes from his kids. It was the right thing to do.

That's the kind of dad he is. That's the kind of person I am. I knew I'd need to uproot if we wanted to marry and be together. I did it happily and imagined if I was kind and welcoming to his 3 and didn't poison them with my atrocious cooking, we'd all get along fine. And yet, here we are!

2rebecca Fri 08-Mar-13 09:31:38

I agree that your husband should be able to mention your name. however that is different to starting a conversation about "it's a shame we can't all get along and be together". He maybe thought that but on this occasion knowing how his youngest daughter feels about you saying that was never going to do anything except cause an argument. That is different to mentioning your name in conversation casually as it comes up about something you had done together. If my husband is out with his kids I don't expect him to mention what a shame it is I'm not there I want him to enjoy the time with his kids not sound resentful and as though he's missing me.
I would have expected the xmas eve occasion to be exceptional though as no-one should be expected to leave their house to accomodate someone else. If the daughter doesn't want to see you then her dad will just have to go out to dinner with her sometimes. He shouldn't agree to never mention you though and should tell her that adults don't say that sort of thing to each other and she has to accept you are part of his life even if she doesn't want to see you.
She sounds an immature 19 year old though and may accept you later on. Is there a reason for her dislike? Does she get on with other people or does she tend to have difficulty with relationships and be inflexible?

Jux Fri 08-Mar-13 09:51:42

I disagree with your first para, 2rebecca. It's been 7 years! If it had been a short time, and the sd were much younger then I would more likely agree, but not now.

the thing is, Mary, she's got away with keeping you all treading on eggshells around her for a long time, and has no reason to change that.

Do her siblings not say anything to her about her behaviour? If I were to behave like that - even when we were 11 ish - my siblings would first laugh at me mercilessly, then I'd get a talk from them about how ridiculous my behaviour was, then they'd wash their hands of it and tell me I was on my own and I was an idiot missing out on all the good times they were having. In fact, they would make me ashamed of myself.

Her behaviour is soul destroying for you, but that's her aim. Thank goodness your dh isn't falling for it.

I wonder though, whether he could take her out for lunch and just give her a good old-fashioned talking to?

Whatever else, though, I really think you will do more harm than good by continuing to pander to her completely unreasonable behaviour.

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Fri 08-Mar-13 10:05:06

Jux he has. Done lunch and dinner and seen her "home and away", as it were. The last time he did, he mentioned something he and I had done, by way of conversation and she told him to take her home. I expected him to be out a few hours.... He was home 40 mins later. That was picking her up, lunch and dropping her off again.

To say nothing on Xmas eve would have been like having the elephant not only in the room, but at the table and staying for coffee! It wasn't said in a hand wringing "oh God, if only we could all be together" way!

Jux Fri 08-Mar-13 10:21:01

Tbh Mary, if anyone else behaved like that he wouldn't be dropping her off home, but letting her walk.

You say he's done lunch and dinner etc, but has he actually taken her specifically to give her a talking to about her immature and outrageous behaviour and how unacceptable it is? She's a grown up now, and has to behave like one. If she wants to behave like an unruly spoilt brat then she should be treated like one.

You see, I think you've all been pandering to her and you have to stop, be tough, and tell her that if her behaviour and attitude don't change then that's it. At least, dh has to, and her siblings should support him in that.

(I do realise that it's only my opinion and there's no reason in the world why you should even listen to it grin )

That's why I'm wondering whether the older two ever talk to her about it. Does she have some sort of SN or any particular reason why you are all affording her such respect? Giving her so much power? Is she a spoilt brat about everything else in her life?

In the olden days she'd have been given a smacked bum and sent to bed with no supper.

FrauMoose Fri 08-Mar-13 10:51:38

I think when I started out as a stepmother I had a fantasy about being a good stepmother, breaking all the stereotypes, being adored, being a real friend to my stepchildren etc.

And of course it isn't like that. For me - with some quite big ups and downs - it's worked out quite well, but not in the way I'd hoped for at the start. And of course, people have huge difficulties with their own children and how to set boundaries even within conventional 'unblended' families.

I do not think one should ever let one's own happiness be solely dependent on the younger generation.

Incidentally my partner's ex completely blanks me. It only happens rarely, but I am already really steeling myself for a possible future wedding, where I know that there will be no response from her to my civil greetings. These things are hugely stressful and upsetting.

(In your husband's shoes I might be tempted to communicate by saying that she was obviously still continuing to finding it really difficult to come to terms with family changes. Although he loved her cared about her well-being, wanted o know if she was OK, about any difficulties etc etc,might it be work for her to take some 'time out', and get in touch again when she felt more ready - i.e. the ball's in your court now.)

MaryMaryOnTheContrary Fri 08-Mar-13 15:51:49

fraumoose ... Initially, he phoned her, emailed her and texted her. Just ordinary stuff saying he missed her/when was she coming over/she was welcome to join us for "whatever". She ignored it. Two Christmases and birthdays have now gone by with "what would you like, darling?" "Nothing" was her reply. So, he let sleeping dogs lie for a while. The next accusation was "You've abandoned your children; you're only interested in her and her son. The man cannot win. I've no idea where he's up to precisely with her, none.

Jux this is the dispiriting thing. On Xmas eve, when she had walked out on dad (again) eldest SD (24) and DH talked about it. In the past, I know that her 2 siblings have said she needs to mature a bit and just stop being so silly. However, eldest DH said "MaryMary has been the same with all three of you and you get along fine and like her". Eldest said that when youngest and Mary alone, Mary has been nasty and unkind to her". DH said that's absurd (remember, I wasn't there) but eldest just said "well, I'm not here all the time it's hard for me to know" [shocked]. However, eldest and we have been out several times since and had a lovely time. Also, have seen SS who is lovely and we ate out and again, no discomfort.

So, in conclusion...I have a split personality. I am cruel and nasty when no one is looking, apparently. I am so disgusted by this accusation that I can barely write it. My two closest friends just laughed and said "that's ridiculous.... You're such a pushover and will put up with any aggro to keep a peaceful life!"

theredhen Fri 08-Mar-13 16:06:58

She's trying to justify her own feelings and behaviour.

It's very common in step families where the child hasn't reconciled themselves to their parents split.

Don't waste time trying to prove to her and everyone else that she's wrong. Just live your life and hold your head up high knowing you've done your best.

It actually isn't about you although it feels very personal, it's about her.

Jux Fri 08-Mar-13 19:42:17

Bloody hell, silly little girl. I hope she is thoroughly ashamed of herself when she grows up.

I have absolutely no idea if there is anything you can do - or rather your dh can do - except wait for that eventuality. Sadly, I think there isn't. I'm so sorry.

elliebellys Fri 08-Mar-13 20:26:19

mary,has sd ever had any form of councilling?. i think its wrong how some posters are calling her silly and spoilt brat,maybe she is going about this in a wrong way,but they are her feelings ,nd maybe she doesnt want to actually feel that way but doesnt know how to work thru her issues.none of this is your fault,but she can,t be forced to do anything.

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