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Spousification - how does this affect the child

(96 Posts)
LeftHandedMouse Tue 11-Nov-14 08:47:53

Just picked up on this from another thread, and the comment that it can damage the DD's relationships later on in life.

Does anyone know what form this takes?

Over dependence on a b/friend or intense relationships for example?

ArsenicSoup Tue 11-Nov-14 21:32:52

<bags a seat>

PerpendicularVincenzo Tue 11-Nov-14 21:47:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NickiFury Tue 11-Nov-14 21:58:04

I am sure someone will be along in a moment to earnestly assure us that this "syndrome" exists and it probably does; extremely rarely. I think it's can often be a convenient label to justify the jealousy and discomfort of grown adults when dealing with an insecure and unhappy child who has been damaged by the ADULT relationships breaking down and being remade around her, who then clings intensely to the safety of her relationship with her parent. I use her because somehow it's nearly always a father/daughter issue isn't it? Even your OP doesn't mention sons/boys. Why not?

ArsenicSoup Tue 11-Nov-14 21:59:27

That's the multi-million pound question Nicki

LeftHandedMouse Tue 11-Nov-14 22:18:55

Because the dsc in question is a girl?

50/50 it would be a girl or boy!

I didn't mention clinging to a relationship with a parent. That's just a supposition in your argument.

And it's not the problem.

I asked about what happens in later life, not whether it exists.

So, nicki, in the circumstances you describe, what would you say the longer term effects are in terms of relationships ? Syndrome agnostic.

NickiFury Tue 11-Nov-14 23:06:19

I know you didn't mention "clinging to a parent". I did. Where did I say you did?

In MY opinion when posters use the term here on MN that is what they are referring to and their inability to deal with it and put the child first leads them to search around for a label to hang on it to justify their inadequacies and jealousy.

Might I suggest you do a search, this has been discussed at length on this board and their are strenuous arguments on both sides that you may find useful.

PerpendicularVincenzo Tue 11-Nov-14 23:18:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hakluyt Tue 11-Nov-14 23:24:02

I have never heard the term used by anyone but step mothers who can't deal with their partner's relationship with his daughter. Likewise "mini wife"

Waltermittythesequel Tue 11-Nov-14 23:25:56


ArsenicSoup Tue 11-Nov-14 23:25:59

The 'DSC in question' is always a girl hmm

NickiFury Tue 11-Nov-14 23:35:09

There not their obviously

PerpendicularVincenzo Tue 11-Nov-14 23:44:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArsenicSoup Tue 11-Nov-14 23:47:50


<zips her lip>

Boomeranggirl Wed 12-Nov-14 07:55:02

left I've seen this type of behaviour occurring in a 'together' family unit within our own family, so it's not always a step family situation.

I want to caveat that this is just from my own observation in this particular situation, not any research!

The long term impacts have been different for all those involved (I've seen it over a ten year period so from mid teens to mid twenties).

From the daughters perspective the lack of boundaries seems to have contributed to anti social behaviour (criminal proceedings for violence not chewing with your mouth open) Arguably this could of happened without any spousification but I think that the lack of boundaries in childhood has led to a disregard for consequences in adult life. Just my opinion.

Lack of confidence (no drive to establish independence) so no plans at all to leave home.

Poor academic performance, so minimal prospects for career.

Still very dependant on dad emotionally, financially and domestically.

Strained marriage, unhappy domestic situation. Family still living together so an awkward situation.

A lot of guilt on dads part (which he has expressed but no change in behaviour).

Very, very sad as girl in question was lovely underneath but you could see damage being done.

Family members tried to speak to the dad but he ignored it all.

It was very uncomfortable to witness, dad and daughter were a tight knit couple that used to gang up on the mother in public so not sure what happened in private.

If the dad expressed any wish to spend even a small amount of time with anyone else (DH in this case) daughter would throw a jealous tantrum. I kid you not I have witnessed it! DH was opened mouthed!

It's a sad situation really that has caused pain all round.

Personally I think it's a form of emotional abuse on the part of the parent and not at all the fault of the child. The child is taking their lead from the adult. I personally place the blame for all this at the fathers door.

I think it's an emotive step parent issue because it's the dad at fault not the step child. But its easier to blame the child sad.

LeftHandedMouse Wed 12-Nov-14 08:19:13

Well, that was pointless!

Not interested in whether the justification for the term spousification exists, or whether anyone's personal (and presumably not professional) opinion is that it's 'typically' much more simple than a full blown 'syndrome'.

Just wanted to know what the later in life impacts are, regardless of whether you think the term is justified or not.

Trying to help DSD, didn't mention an age, or how long ago her parents split so jumping to a conclusion any and all problems are related to that are completely unfounded.

Nor did I suggest I was struggling with it, in fact I am very much trying 'to put the child first' by asking.

Perhaps you could imagine we've helped her through the stage of 'clinging intensely' (not my words) and are now looking to her future? No inadequacies or jealousy, just the concern of a caring adult? Or is that too difficult to do from up their on your high horse Nicki?

I have searched and not found much on the later life impacts, which is what the thread is about IF YOU READ IT !

Looking forward to you all flaming the next person who posts 'I'm having difficulty with my step children; - cos that never comes up over and over again does it?

LeftHandedMouse Wed 12-Nov-14 08:21:16

Thank you BoomerangGirl.


NickiFury Wed 12-Nov-14 08:23:03

Oh so you only wanted people who agreed with YOUR definition of the term. You should have said so in your OP. Difficult to make a discussion go your way unless you lay out your expectations in the first place.

ArsenicSoup Wed 12-Nov-14 09:12:38

This might have gone better if you'd just described the behaviour OP, instead of co-opting a disputed and controversial term and then silently re-defining it.

PerpendicularVincenzo Wed 12-Nov-14 09:20:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RedPoppyRed Wed 12-Nov-14 09:28:58

<brings own groundhog>

Is this the groundhog party?

ArsenicSoup Wed 12-Nov-14 09:30:25

Spousification (so called) will be the 'wandering womb' of the 21st century, if this keeps up. 150 years from now earnest young postgrads will be writing papers about how a society came to spawn such sexist beliefs. I suppose MN will be a rich archive for historical research by then. (Thank goodness for anonymity.) Let's try to leave indications we were semi-evolved.

ArsenicSoup Wed 12-Nov-14 09:31:44

I lost my groundhog. He ran away. Couldn't stand the repetitive discussions sad

Boomeranggirl Wed 12-Nov-14 09:32:49

It's a very uncomfortable subject that really is a minefield to deal with. I suspect long term impact data is very difficult to come by because it would be rare to find families willing to admit that it was a problem and actually take part in a study over a prolonged period of time. As I said I think it's emotional abuse on the part of the parent so very few would put their hands up and admit to it.

I think it's also uncomfortable because it makes us paranoid about having a close relationship with our children, especially between fathers and daughters, which is very sad. How do you draw a line between a close loving bond between father and daughter, and the father using the daughter as an emotional crutch?

ArsenicSoup Wed 12-Nov-14 09:34:00

It's a minefield because it's unproven.

It's uncomfortable because it is highly gendered drivel.


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