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Advice needed for step parent

(14 Posts)
tsm106 Mon 09-Nov-15 23:52:46

I have been with my partner for 12 years now, and we are both very happy. When I met him, he had a daughter who at 6 was a very precocious child, and always very rude to me and my son. As her dad only saw her once a fortnight, he let her ride roughshod over everyone and never disciplined her. Over the years I have tried everything possible to get on with her but all to no avail. On numerous occasions I have spoke with her dad about it, and her, but improvements never last for long. Now at 18, she is arrogant, rude and difficult to be around. I dread her coming to stay, and then feel drained when she has left. She was particularly bad this weekend, and I now feel low, my self esteem is almost non existent and I feel dreadful. I feel so angry. With myself for letting her effect me in this way, but I can't see anyway out of this. It is effecting my health, and I want to spend as little time around her as possible. Am I being unreasonable, is it me?
I feel so exhausted by all this.

Wdigin2this Tue 10-Nov-15 00:24:43

Oh dear, that sounds damn difficult! Firstly, the childish bad manners were probably the result of her not wanting to share her DF, which was understandable, but obviously, her rudeness to you (or anyone else) should have been addressed a long time ago, but she's 18 now and an adult and you don't have to take it on the chin anymore!
You could (and I know how difficult this will be) sit down with your DH this week and explain that her rudeness towards you is something you felt was bad enough when she was a child, but now she's 18, and after this particularly bad weekend, you're just not prepared to accept it anymore!
At least for the next few times she visits, suggest her DF takes her out to Saturday lunch and keeps her out all day, then on the Sunday, make plans to be out most of the day least then it'll be a little less intense, and you are making a strong point! And also, screw up your courage for the next time she is pointedly rude to you, and say....'I'm not prepared to be spoken to like that, if you can't be courteous, don't speak to me at all'! I've done it with adult DSC, and it worked!
How old is your son, is he still at home, and is he still accepting her bad manners?

Asteria36 Tue 10-Nov-15 00:56:58

I agree with wdigin. It is really tough on the dsc but rudeness is not acceptable.
I can't offer any amazing advice as I am only just heading into this territory, but I can offer a little solidarity.
We have endless problems with dsd's jealousy and attitude. She lurks by doors to overhear DH and I and then edits what she hears for a more sensational story for mummy. Today the result of something that stemmed from her tale telling, was us getting the police involved. I know it is not her fault that her life has been turned upside down, but by god it is flipping tough not to lose my patience.

tsm106 Tue 10-Nov-15 01:05:12

Thanks for your advice Wdigin2this. I am new to this site, so hope I am replying to you ok. The problem is, I just don't think she is a very nice person underneath it all. My son has left home now, is 6 years older than her, so only sees her a couple of times a year. So he just thinks her behaviour is just her being her. But I have told her and her dad so many times now about the way she speaks, and nothing ever changes. I feel awful for saying this, but I don't even like her anymore. She has caused 75% of rows with my OH over the years and has had me in tears more times than I care to remember. I hoped she would grow out of her ways, but she is just a different kind of rude now. She doesn't row with me ( in a way, I wish she would as I could deal with that better ) it's the snide comments that come to you when you are unaware, the arrogance, the rude comments, a lot of it is very covert but deeply painful as it's almost impossible to respond to. I really don't want her in my life anymore as its creating so much anxiety for me.

tsm106 Tue 10-Nov-15 01:16:23

Thanks Asteria, as I said before, I am new to this site, so apologies if I do something wrong here. I have ultimate sympathy for a child's behaviour when mum and dad split up as it does turn their world upside down. But her mum and dad split up 15 years ago now, and so this is her personality now at 18 and I can't see that improving anytime soon.
I hope in your case, this is a temporary situation while the child adjusts and improves in time.
In my case, there is now too much water under the bridge, to much hurt and upset caused.

MeridianB Tue 10-Nov-15 09:02:55

Sounds grim. Once again, this is a DP/H problem, rather than a child problem.

Did/does your DP allow her to talk to other adults in a rude way? School teachers? Other relatives? If not then why should you be subjected to it.

I'd start by saying something to him and if he denies/ignores it then speak up next time she does it. Practice a line in your head and be confident and firm. Don't let anyone make you feel you are being unreasonable in expecting civility for yourself or your son.

Licketysplit9 Tue 10-Nov-15 10:49:33

I sincerely feel for you. I have a similar issue myself and I'm afraid I have no advice, but maybe comfort that you aren't alone in your situation.

I confronted my DSDs behaviour, which is rare; I usually let my DH deal with her (adult) tantrums. But now the result is a complete breakdown in communications. It's been months. That bothers me a little, but not hugely (as she gets older I'm afraid my view of her has crystalised into one of a pretty spiteful, manipulative person). I find it incredibly difficult to shake this view. I am deeply ashamed that I do not like my DSD. My DH is more pragmatic in that he says you can't expect to like everyone, even close family.

What bothers me a lot more is that her and my other DSD have not seen their half-siblings in months. Not purely because of the confrontation I should add.

I used to try a lot harder, but there is only so much rejection a person can take. Then it all came to a head when neither of them wanted to come to a significant family event. I was heartbroken. So I made the decision (wrongly or rightly) to lower my expectations and cut myself off to an extent emotionally, until they showed my will.

Saying that, it still so upsets me that our family is not what I had always hoped it would be before we had our own child. My child hardly knows their siblings which breaks my heart. It is what it is though.

Do stick up for yourself though. Do not let her degrade you. And if she cannot behave decently, then make yourself busy and get on with your own thing.

80sWaistcoat Tue 10-Nov-15 10:56:13

I think you can't change her but you can change your attitude to her.

I know its difficult to have to share your house with someone you don't like (and no, you don't have to like your stepchildren or they you - whatever people on here say). But you have to hope it settles down into some kind of adult relationship, she sounds immature and v difficult.

She may grow up and become someone you can get on with - you can hope for that. And there'll probably be a point when you can both have an adult conversation with about how you manage your relationship.

But, work on your attitude to the problem - be out more, or send them out, put stuff in your life you want to do. Don't do things for her that make you feel resentful.

In a way put her in a little box marked DH's problem and you get on with your relationship with him and your life.

tsm106 Tue 10-Nov-15 11:22:22

Thanks for you for all your encouraging comments. I had asked the same questions on a similar site about five years ago, and did get a lot of negative comments back, saying she is just a child and I am the adult, so cut her some slack! Years have now passed, she is now 18 and worse than ever. It's hard to explain, but she is very covert with a series of snide, arrogant comments rather than one big nasty comment ( even though that does happen too ). That is so much harder to deal with, as you don't want to make " a scene " over one remark. But by the end of the evening, all those snide remarks have sucked the life out of me. I am a very easy person to get on with, and it breaks my heart that this person is so difficult to be around and get on with, that I do have to change my life to not be around her so much.

Wdigin2this Tue 10-Nov-15 23:53:17

Tsm, I really feel for you...but the time has come to put yourself first! Make it clear to all concerned that, after this particularly bad weekend, you are withdrawing goodwil, ie...until your DSD grows up enough to treat you with common courtesy, you will have no further conversation with her, spend no time with her, (logistically difficult but it can be managed), and say to those who cannot understand/don't get where you're coming from...'listen carefully to the interaction between us and bloody well wise up!!
It will not be easy, but even if it means you spend a lot less time with her, it'll be worth it!! Good luck flowers wine

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 11-Nov-15 15:59:06

You have been a long time in this situation and it hasn't got better. Sounds horrible! I have had similar with an older DSD now 19 who was mostly either indifferent and rude or mean to my son. DP never really stuck up for me, he tried, failed, gave up, excused her, ignored her rudeness. It made me feel tense all the time and wore me out.

I think the only way is to stick up for yourself as soon as anything happens, any snide comments, anything. Be calm, but be clear. I was particularly struck by you saying that
you don't want to make " a scene " over one remark. But by the end of the evening, all those snide remarks have sucked the life out of me.
So pick up on all those remarks. I sympathise, I ignored so much and it built up so much I wanted to explode. Keep saying 'I think there is an atmosphere here, I think what you said was rude and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Why did you say that? It's just not that nice. I won't be made to feel uncomfortable in my own home.' I started to do this and a whole load of 'you're not my mother' etc came out - which tbh was better than the snide/ignoring and at least there is a conversation there. I told my DSD how it made me feel, I said it was really not even being said 'hello' to, or looking so pissed off at me all the time, and I asked her why, and said look we have to sort this out and try and live together with some level of harmony.

If anyone kicks off just keep saying that you are not the cause of the problem and you will not accept it. Sometimes people get away with 'low level' snideness because no one will say how crap it makes them feel.

Otherwise you will either have to stay out of the house those weekends which will lead you to feel that you've been frozen out.

cappy123 Tue 01-Dec-15 02:34:20

bananas wise advice

OutToGetYou Tue 01-Dec-15 13:52:52

She's an adult, she needs to know how to behave in polite company.

Every time say "that's not a very nice thing to say", or "did you mean to say that in that way because it sounds quite nasty", or "I could find comments like that quite hurtful", or "I don't speak to you like that so please don't do it to me". Have a small stock of phrases and just keep using them, calmly.

BlueBlueSea Tue 01-Dec-15 20:59:01

You have put up with this for a long time. At least she is 18 and will not be doing 'contact' weekends for much longer. My teens stopped going for contact when they were 16.

The only thing that I know works for me, is knowing that I can not change the behaviour and so try not to take it personally and ignore it.

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