Struggling not to hold on to resentment(15 Posts)
My dsd lives with me and dh. She's lived with us since she was 12 and she's 18 now. We've had our ups and downs, particularly when she was 15/16 but things have been so much better in the past year. The problems we've all had haven't been due to me or the step parenting issue but around her feelings about her mum, a lack of coping mechanisms and well, just being a teenager. But as I said things have been so much better in the past year and the house and relationships are much more peaceful and happier.
However, something I've always struggled with is her lack of thought. For instance, she has never bought me a birthday card or text me happy birthday. When she sees me after I get home from work she'll wish me happy birthday but it ends there. I've been visiting family a couple of times on my birthday and received no text, call, nothing. This has always bothered me but I don't say anything because my dh thinks this is just teenage behaviour. She occasionally 'forgets' to buy him a card or gift either but always texts/calls him.
Recently I went into hospital unexpectedly for 4 days and didn't get a text, call or visit from her, although dh visited everyday. She did greet me when I got home and asked a bit about it but I just feel so let down by it.
I'm not a perfect SP but I've tried with her and never been horrible to her. I don't expect her to treat me like a DM or even make a big effort but surely it's not too much to ask to get a text on my birthday (when I blow up balloons and banners for hers) and a text when I'm in hospital?
Or is it like my dh says and this is typical selfish teenage behaviour?
No it's not. My dds (17 and 10) make a fuss on my birthday, even if it's home made cards and a cuppa. They worry if I'm ill and will try and help me etc.
I have 2 dsds. The oldest is 19, I've been in her life since she was 16 and she's never forgotten my birthday and always sends me a card and/or a present. She has never lived with me.
My other dsd is 12 and won't even acknowledge my birthday. At Christmas her dad gets a card, nothing for me or my kids. He also gets a nice present which his ex buys. I don't expect anything but my kids buy her a present from their own money and its just ignored. Neither bought her anything this year but have bought for the 19 year old.
I think your dsd is being quite mean and your dh should be pushing her to accept you and at least acknowledge your existence and birthday.
The thing is, she doesn't ignore me and appears to accept me. She occasionally will seek me out when something is bothering her. She doesn't love me and is sometimes ambivalent towards me but no really bad feelings. I just don't get it. We live together, share a life together, I do things for her (probably not as much as she feels she's due as the general feel from her and her sister is that nothing dh and I do is good enough) Even if we were just housemates with not a lot in common I would still make an effort on someone's birthday or when they were sick.
I think it could well be teen behaviour. I'm not going to say typical because everyone is different, and situations are different. I sometimes don't get stuff from my own DD, but then she will surprise me with something really wonderful completely randomly and totally unrelated to any significant date. While it would be great to get birthday cards and presents etc without any reminders I don't expect it, so it's great when it happens and doesn't worry me when it doesn't.. Because she's my DD I accept it and don't let it worry me.
However this year one of my DSCs didn't do a card when the others did and I felt hurt. I had to remind myself I accept that behaviour from DD so cannot expect different/more from my DSCs. I guess I found it harder because I choose to do everything I do for the DSCs and would like the recognition, but don't have a choice with my DD - but that's my problem not theirs. Is the present/card giving on a birthday an unspoken rule/code that is important to you, but that others may not know about - these are often the things that we are most hurt by because they are so personal and deeply held to us.
Hospitalisation is a really tough thing for some people to deal with - she may not have known how to handle the situation. Can you focus on the fact she talked to you about it afterwards which shows interest/care.
I'm now desperately trying to remember if I ever bought anyone presents when i was a teen!
Have to say....step children should at least have the decency to say 'happy birthday' Only common on decency!!
To be honest, my family of origin is terrible with birthdays. I can easily forget my parents (mum dad and step dad). Have only 1 brother and he always forgets. I've forgotten his kids. I spoke to my mum on my birthday last week and not only did she forget, but she kept going on about her own birthday plans this coming week. What makes it worse is that the family I've married into is the complete opposite. DSD, DH and in-laws are abundantly generous giving cards, time and gifts! Maybe don't take it too personally. Either tell her you'd like a card or text, or let it go and appreciate the other good things about her.
I totally get the birthday thing! My SD is 16 and a half now and although she wishes me with sms and in person she has never bought me a card or a present (known her for 5 years now). Or at least made me something when she was smaller and she used to make things... I completely understand how you feel, honestly! We have a good relationship and she is a really good girl, we spend a lot of time together and when it really matters that she will show some appreciation she doesn't! I tell myself that I don't care but I do, since we live together and I know that she will buy presents and cards for her friends at school... It has to do with being a teenager, a girl that is crazy about her dad and that her mum isn't around much at the moment. How is your SD's relationship with her mum?
It does matter, and people who value each other should at least give birthday cards! It's about caring enough about that person to make the effort to choose, buy and write on that card...it's not exactly a hardship is it?
I'm very forgetful but I'd be mortified if I forgot a family member's birthday...which is why I have the dates pop up on my phone at least 2 days before!
I think you need to cut her a break. I forgot my DM's birthday this year and I'm 46 ( disclaimer: I knew roughly when it was and brought along a bunch of flowers and a card but was a few days late).
If your relationship is generally good with her then you just need to let this go. Teenagers are generally quite thoughtless and tbh I wouldn't have expected her to text you for your birthday if you were away. Also re her birthday I would expect more effort to be put into a child or teens birthday than an adults one.
My own dad constantly forgets mine - nearly every year. I'm often on the phone to him on my birthday (as we speak daily) and not even a flutter of a happy birthday...I've learnt to live with it. It used to gripe on me but now it happens so often I don't bother saying anything.
But she isn't forgetting the birthday, is she?
Why doesn't your husband ask her to remember to buy a card and a present? It's the least they can do when you are taking care of her. It's really horrible behaviour from both of them.
My dh used to buy presents on behalf of step children who hardly spoke to me and made them sign cards- this year i told him I'd rather he stopped with the farce. What for if not genuine?
I think it is typical of younger teenagers, but by 18, they should have been told off enough times for not being considerate that it should have become automatic. Unfortunately, it would seem that your OH always considered it acceptable behaviour, so she hasn't learnt yet. She probably will one day, at least you can hope so. Of course, she is now an adult herself, so you could forget her birthday and see how she takes it.
You seem to be getting irked by the general 'lack of thought' - and it sounds fair enough. I have had this too, my DSCs never texted/bought birthday cards at all for me. Despite me remembering every single birthday and making a fuss - even organising their parties at times. I'm trying to be clear to them now that I have feelings and I would like a card at least. Last birthday I practically demanded it but my DH still had to take them himself to the card shop - lots of 'this is awkward' from them - even though one of them is an adult and they all have money! But I hope it got a bit of a message through that I do need a little reciprocity. Even just one card a year.
I too, like you, just held back for years but they won't do it unless we ask, and be clear not to totally take us for granted. I'd be telling your DSD 'I would have so loved a text, or a card or a visit when I was ill' etc. Good luck!
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