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Help! Struggling with DSD

(14 Posts)
EllJay254 Tue 25-Nov-14 16:47:55

I'm looking for any help or advice that anyone might have but please read my entire read before thinking I'm a complete Cinderella-esque Disney villain.

I'm really struggling with my 12 year old DSD. She spends every weekend Friday-Monday with us and its reached the point now where I dread it. I know, as a stepchild myself, what she is going through and I know it's not her fault, but I don't know how to make it any better for all involved. It's been like this for 3 years & is getting worse, not better.

There is an awful atmosphere around her and I feel like I'm constantly on eggshells. She doesn't speak, at all, to me. If I speak to her she ignores me. She doesn't so much as make eye contact. She has no respect for anyone or anything in our house, and is quite slobbish. 'Mum says you care too much about material things and it's not important'.

Understandably, she is very loyal to her mum. Who hates me. Her mum had an affair and her and DP separated about a year before I came along. So I wasn't the 'other woman'. We were together about 6 months before I was introduced to DSD and about 18mths before we lived together. We have a nightmare of a time with her mum. She makes frequent accusations to the police, has attempted civil cases against us, contacted my employers & made accusations, and has turned up drunk at our house, threatening me. DP has a teenage son who we do not see at all, who has been completely poisoned against him. DSD has always been a daddy's girl so it hasn't happened with her, but we know she is being subject to the same rants as her brother, and I believe this is the main source of her behaviour towards me. (She behaves this way towards her aunt who mum also detests)

DP is a bit of a Disney dad because he is worried about DSD going the same way as her brother. Although he is getting better. He just tells me not to take it personally and that its just the way she is. I must point out that cafcass etc have been involved, she excels at school & there isn't any psychological diagnosis. I take a back seat when it comes to discipline etc but when we are alone together then obviously I do take charge. I go out and give them some time alone every weekend.

We, and both of our families, include her in everything, but take care not to smother her. She is treated no different to any other grandchild on either side. Especially as she has no relationship with her mums family.

I've tried talking to her, spending time alone with her, taking an interest, giving her a wide berth, nothing works. I'm starting to dislike her and I hate myself for it. I need to nip it in the bud because I know it's not her fault but I don't know what to do. The whole thing is getting me down big time. I have no children but we are about to embark on an IVF cycle (DSD doesn't know because she doesn't need to until it hopefully works)

Sorry for the mega post and thanks in advance xxx

Madamecastafiore Tue 25-Nov-14 16:52:25

She speaks to you and is civil to you in your house or she stays away. How dare your DH and her make you feel like this in your own home.

At 12 she is more than old enough to understand that she doesn't have to like you but she has to be civil and your DH should be enforcing this.

EllJay254 Tue 25-Nov-14 17:31:13

I must point out, he is getting better. He does speak to her and tries to ask her what the problem is, and makes her respond to me etc when I talk to her but she doesn't seem to understand what she's doing wrong. Or is a good little actress. I know it's hard for her to adjust. She swears blind that she doesn't dislike me, and when she's with us for a longer time (holidays etc) she is nicer. Ie when she's away from her mum. I genuinely believe it's a case of a poisoned mind but because she won't speak or anything I can't defend myself. I wish she would say 'mum says you're this' or 'mum says you did that'.
She appears to be frightened of her mum, but I don't know if this is a play the victim type show for attention.

EllJay254 Tue 25-Nov-14 17:36:04

I could never ask nor expect nor want her to stay away. She's a child and she's important & it's important for her to maintain her relationship with her dad. My stepmum & her family completely rejected my brother & I as kids, and my dad just went along with it for an easy life and it hurt. For all I love my dad & have a good relationship with him, I still resent my stepmum. I could never do that to another child x

MeridianB Tue 25-Nov-14 19:14:14

It sounds as if she might feel disloyal to her mother if she is nice to you, enjoys your company or even acknowledges you. Perhaps she gets grilled on this when she is back with her mother. It can't be easy for her, by the sound of it.

However, this is no excuse for plain rudeness and ignoring you. Does she do it in front of your DP? If so, he needs to speak up. If it's just the two of you, could you ask her to please be civil as you are only human? and it's your home

I can see it's delicate, given his son's disengagement and the risk that his daughter may do the same but at the very least, DSD should reply when you speak to her. Otherwise it will only get worse as she hits teen years.

EllJay254 Tue 25-Nov-14 19:46:02

Thank you smile I do think it's a loyalty thing. DP does prompt her but he's also frightened to upset her, although he won't admit it. He's very supportive of me but he can't seem to grasp how it can upset me so much. He tells me it's not personal, and I know she'd probably be like that with any woman her dad met. I think what I'm looking for is more how to deal with my feelings within myself. How to reassure myself that it's not me. I'm frightened that I end up really not liking her. When all in all, she's just a confused little girl x

CalicoBlue Tue 25-Nov-14 20:00:03

I think there is a biological reaction to step children that puts up a barrier in us. It is a survival reaction, has no logic.

You just have to try and deal with it yourself. Nothing your DP or DSD can do will really change it, and they have enough problems managing their own relationship and hers with her mother.

I have dealt with a similar situation by keeping away from it. DP and I have our own time together and when he is with DSS that is his time. DSS will not come into a room if I am there and will not talk to me. As it is my home and I will not make allowances, he keeps to his room.

You will have to find a way to deal with it whilst making home manageable. They are not going to change.

FlossyMoo Tue 25-Nov-14 20:24:05

Hi OP. I don't think you sound like a wicked SM at all. In fact I think you sound lovely.

Only skimmed the replies (sorry) so not sure if this has been suggested but have you asked her?

I mean have you sat down with her and asked why she is hostile towards you. I would then explain how it makes you feel and ask her if there is anything you can do to change how she interacts with you. She is 12 yo so I don't think it is wrong to ask.
I mean don't do the whole spot light in her face thing grin but maybe you all go out for the day and choose a moment to bring it up.

She may not realise the affect it is having.
She may give you answers.
She may just be being 12 and a tad obnoxious which is not unusual.

EllJay254 Wed 26-Nov-14 09:00:19

Thank you. Yeah, both myself and DP (and my MIL) have talked to her about it but she says nothing. I think it all stems from loyalty to mum. I've even had the 'I know I'm not your mum and I don't want to take her place but I'm here if you need anything' talk. (She was with us full time with visitation only with mum, until she got her alcohol intake under control).
I know pre teen girls can be little prima donnas. I used to be one! It think I've just got to stick it out until she's old enough to form her own opinion. And keep reminding myself it's not her fault. And taking lots of deep breaths! Thanks for the support x

Whereisegg Wed 26-Nov-14 09:22:56

Why are you being left alone with her if she won't talk to you?

Whereisegg Wed 26-Nov-14 09:26:36

Posted too soon... does your dp need to work? Go out?

She needs to be taken to mil or someone else if this is the case imo, she needs to understand that being rude/ignoring you means she has to get up, dressed and out every time your dp needs to be out of the house without her.
It seems like a logical consequence to me.

Eliza22 Wed 26-Nov-14 11:06:24

CalicoBlue, you can live like that? That's got disaster written all over it for all your future relations.

My SD was 12 when I net her. Same as you, DH's first wife had an affair. I came along 3 years later. Of the 3 step kids, she resented me and my son from the off. She was 15 when DH and I married. We didn't live together first. Now she's 20 and we are coming up to our 4th Christmas of no contact. All the counselling, work, tears, trying, retreating, trying again, cajoling were for nothing. She used to ignore me I front of DH and he only said something after months of her utter disdain for me.

Sometimes, you have to sit down and discuss house rules of basic kindness and acceptance. You can't make her do it. I have no real advice. All my efforts were shunned and I have now given up. Twelve IS young but, there can and should be an understanding of acceptable behaviour, even in one so young.

CalicoBlue Wed 26-Nov-14 23:35:35

Eliza22, this situation is the most calm and happy the house has been in years.

If DSS is in the house he does not come out of his room, his choice. He will not eat with us or talk to us, his choice. He only talks to his father when he goes upto his room, his choice. They go out together and go on holiday alone together.

Letting him do this means that meal times are less stressful, every word I say is not twisted and reported back to his mother, DP is not worrying about his behaviour all the time. Hardly any arguments now.

I know it sounds strange, but it works for us. He does not want to be part of the family, so we just get on with it without him.

Eliza22 Thu 27-Nov-14 08:58:18

Calico that sounds logical but still, awful. Your stepson is in for a massive shock if he imagines (from this) that you can just be rude to/ignore people in life. He's going to be rather lonely, is my guess. Kids need to learn that whilst we won't necessarily get on with everyone we have contact with, it's important to show civility and try to at the very least, "rub along".

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