DEAR CHRISTINE: Stepdaughter wants nothing to do with me
I NEVER THOUGHT I’d be writing to you but here I am. I guess “never say never” is really true after all. I am not sure at this point in time if it is advice I want or if I simply just prefer to use your column to vent my concern and frustration. I have been married for the past five years to a man whom I love, trust and respect.
When I met “Harry” I was well aware that he had fathered a child when he was just 18 years old. That was fine with me. He got married to this child’s mother when he discovered she was pregnant.
It was one of those situations where both parents felt it was not right for a young woman to have a child without a wedding band. Sadly, the marriage lasted for just two years. When the child’s mother decided to seek greener pastures abroad Harry’s parents offered to help him “raise” the child. Today, that child lives with her mother’s parents and “Harry” gets to see her whenever he wants.
My problem with this child is I cannot bring myself to love her. Quite frankly, I do not think she loves me either. She is one rude, disrespectful 13-year-old. Whenever she visits our home, she makes it a point to talk about her mother and her mother’s family, as though I do not exist. She also makes it a point not to become “friends” with her younger sister — my three-year old.
This child has a sassy mouth and likes to argue with me. When she visits, she does not even make her bed or help with house chores; I have asked her on numerous times. My husband believes she is being rebellious because he married me, and not her mom. I believe she would love to see my marriage hit the rocks.
Somehow, she seems to have the view that her dad will one day get back together with her mom. I wish the visits would stop, as they leave me feeling strained, depressed and hurt. At the same time, I am hoping things between us will improve.
Is it that I am wishing on a star which will probably never appear or should I tell her dad to lessen the amount of time she spends around me? I have asked myself if I am being selfish, petty and paranoid. Christine, thanks for lending an ear and for allowing me to vent my frustrations.
What is happening between you and your stepdaughter is serious, but you cannot try to deal with this situation on your own. If your husband is not prepared to speak to her, then both of you will need to sit down and have a real deep conversation.
With this present and as the subject. Your husband is wrong to allow her to come into your space and disrespect you. House rules and boundaries should be made so that she has a full understanding of what is expected of her.
If you believe that professional counsel will help all three of you to deal with this stressful “relationship”, then take steps from this very minute to change the atmosphere around you.
Surely, there are issues with which she is dealing and her attitude towards you could be her way of getting attention. She may actually [in her own way] be calling out for love, care, and acceptance.
Do not harbour hatred, malice or cause unnecessary tension between you and your husband. Take control right now and nip this situation in the bud before it reaches a more dangerous stage.