Need honest thoughts here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Texasfilly79, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Texasfilly79

    Texasfilly79 Guest

    I am proud "stepmom" to a 13 yr old difficult child step daughter.

    Her father and I are not married, and in fact, only have been dating for about a year and moved in together very quickly after we first met and before I knew the full extent to difficult child's behavior.

    difficult child behavior for the most part I feel, is very very selfish. Could care less about the feelings of others, very materilistic, and when you do give her something (clothes for example) looks around and asks for more.

    She has had a difficult life - that I completly understand.

    Her real mother could not connect with her since biological mom grew up without a mother herself.

    Bio mom would take her to therapist, but instead of WORKING with the issues, the docs prescribed all sorts of medications, one being Risperdal which is suppose to help with the rages but all it did was make her a zombie, to cover up the symptoms. She has been off the medications, and since she came to live with her dad in May, has improved some of her behaviors.

    difficult child will break things, doors, computers, easy child toys, etc and be extremley happy about it.

    She has sneaked out at night so that she could walk the streets like she did at her bio mom's house.

    She refuses to stay in dress code up at school, wearing low cut shirts then complains that she is called a "*****" by fellow students.

    Refuses to do anything that I ask, even as simple as putting on a sweater instead of a tshirt - its 22 degrees outside.

    Her father does back me up 99.9% of the time, it just gets tiring that every time I turn around and ask her to do something, its a fight.

    I read in her diary several things that alarm me, one including that she wants to take a knife and stab me with it because "Ms. M hates me and tells me to do things that I don't want to do".

    I am looking at a therapist, behind husband's back. He keeps thinking if the last round of therapy that she went through didn't help, why should this?

    Here is my question, how do you keep the anger that builds up with difficult children behavior at bay?

    There are so many times that I just want to throttle her and just give up.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I am so sorry you are going throught this. I would definitely look into a therapist for difficult child AND for you. Not all therapists are the same. Just because one didn't work does NOT mean none of them will. You just need to find one that "gets it" and is willing to work with all of you. Those diary entries would scare me too. Hopefully she is just venting and she would never follow through.

    Sorry I can't be of more help. I would also consider finding a GOOD psychiatrist. Good luck to you all.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'd suggest a marriage counselor first, so you can get some of these frustrations out and your SO can hear them and you two start getting on the same page. If he won't go or that isn't successful, then go by yourself. Blended families are hard even for the best of people.The daughter needs a counselor, too, just for herself but I can't see anything improving until you and your SO get on the same page, in my humble opinion.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Well, easier said than done - but to fight the anger you really need to try and NOT engage with difficult child. If she wants to go outside in 20 degree weather without warm clothes - mention it ONCE. If she does not listen? Hey - No frostbite on you! She made her choice.

    That should get you through regular day to day issues.

    As for writing about wanting to stab you?

    NOT OK!

    Did you bring this to the attention of her father? If so, what did he say?

    If not - you need to show it to him right now! This needs to be dealt with and if difficult child is not currently in therapy - she needs to get there - fast!

    As to the other? Skipping school, running away, smoking cigarettes - these are all "status offenses". Start reporting any and all of these events to the police. No, you don't always need to dial 911 - but report it...make a paper trail. These kinds of reports can help you get more services for difficult child. It can also show difficult child that when you tell her to go to school or get to bed - you mean it!

    And, I'm sorry to say this - but if this child is this out of control at age 13, she is only get to get worse in the next year or two. I think you and your future husband need to get this child some serious help before proceeding with your marriage. difficult child issues strain the strongest of relationships and if you are already having to look for therapists behind his back? You are going to be in trouble...

    (Sorry - don't mean to scare you...)
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My response is going to be different and probably not well received. Sorry about that but after fifty years of parenting full time (including steps and grandsons that only recently moved out) I'm going to respond to you as I would a friend. Please don't take it personally.

    This is not your ptoblem. This is the problem of your SO. I've been a CD family member for over ten years and time and time again the newly introduced step Mom assumes the role of family guardian and parent. The bioDad coasts or hides or defers all power to his new SO. I have noted your occupation. I am a doer, a leader, a manager, a business owner....difficult child problems have brought me to my knees time and time again. You can not fix her. You should not give up your life trying to undo what has happened over a period of many years. Even if your have an IQ of 200 and wings sent from can't do it and you'll have alot of pain trying.

    If your SO is not prepared to step up to the plate, find therapists, find psychiatrists, deal with the issues of education, impose reasonable rules and be responsible that they are followed without your
    urging and leadership.... You will find that you have opted to follow a path unlike any you ever expected. Even in long term marriages if both parenting adults are not on the same page daily it is a miserable parenting road.

    I have given this advice twice to new CD people. I have no reason to believe either found wisdom in my suggestions. :surprise: But...believe me I am very sincere. on the other hand I won't repeat myself and hope that if you post again I will offer as much support as I can. Wishing you the best. DDD
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This isn't going to be popular either, but I not only don't think it's your problem, it's not your place to try to discipline her. You are not her mother or even stepmother. You are her father's girlfriend and no kid is going to respond well to that. You shouldn't expect hub is a step and my kids were brutal to him, even the ones without problems, until he stepped back. I think that's what you need to do.

    Sorry (phew!) :) I did need to get that out. This is his child and he will put her before you, if push comes to shove. She sounds dangerous. You may want to think very hard about a future with a man who has a very dangerous and disturbed daughter. You didn't give much background info on this child, but harsh discipline will not fix her. What she is threatening to do is beyond the norm. I don't know if YOU have any kids, but if you do, you are endangering them. I would not allow them to live in the same house as this child. It's not fair to them.

    Maybe, if you give us more background, we can sort of brainstorm about what could be wrong with this child. However, the bottom line aren't related to her. She does not or CAN not respect people who ARE related to her. She certainly is not going to respect YOU. And in my opinion you shouldn't be disciplining her. Your boyfriend picked you, she didn't. I had to learn this myself when I time, my kids learned to love and respect my husband, but it took a very long time. Trying to force them to do it, only antagonized them. Good luck with your situation and think it over very this the life you want for yourself?
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I read your post and felt like the pot of petunias in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: OH NO, NOT AGAIN...

    Your stepdaughter and my stepdaughter have many of the same things going on. Not all, I am sure - but many. We are working through Onyxx and her desire to stab someone right now. This is frightening to me, that there's another young lady out there with the same thoughts. Now, I will say this - many kids say stuff like this in the heat of anger, and don't really mean it. But add it in with the rest of her status offenses, and...

    If SO doesn't think it will work? Here's something to mention: "But, honey, she's living here with US now. WE can work with her, unlike before." Fact of the matter is - if you're not married - and you don't have a power of attorney - finding a therapist is great, but you won't be able to consent to treatment. Plus, if you do it behind his back, stepdaughter is going to tell him. Do NOT let her behavior drive a wedge between you - because what she may not realize is - she needs you, too.

    Living with a difficult child is something that not every adult can do. My husband stuck his head in the sand for so long... And now, he knows Onyxx needs help... But we've had the kids living with us for 4 years, and it's only been recently that he's stepped up. And let me tell you something - being resented ain't fun - but being physically attacked is much, much worse.

    If you can get your husband to read some of my recent posts about Onyxx, it might help. Or might not. Keep in mind that not all therapists are created equal, and for every great one, there are a LOT of useless ones... Or worse.

    Lastly - HUGS! You're going to need them. Come back, post often, keep us updated. We will tell you what we know, what we think - we don't sugarcoat around here. We're in it for real.

    ...PS. Just read MWM's post, and she's right...
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Please know you can vent here anytime - but I am going to suggest what I should have suggested to my fiance' many years ago. "I think you need to move out." Instead we got married, and our marriage ended 3 years later in a disastrous fiasco. The strain of him having a step difficult child was more than he could handle. In addition it made difficult child's behavior 10 times worse.

    This difficult child is going to take her dad's full, undivided attention - period. You living there is going to add a complication so intense it could make the daughter's behavior worse. In addition it looks like you have an 8 yo of your own - which will also reap the negative impact of a chaotic stressful living situation.

    Had my fiance' and I waited, and dated, I am sure we would still be together. I believe the same for you. If you move out, you will be saving your relationship with your boyfriend as well as your easy child's daughter's sanity - AND you will be helping difficult child and dad get the best help they can get without the added distractions of a step family.

    Many hugs - I know this is hard.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yikes! I ddin't read the signature.
    Hon, take yourself and your eight year old child out of Dodge. That kid wants to stab you. Maybe she'll decide on an easier target...your child. Also, if she has been sexually abused at any time, these kids act out. We had this happen in our home. Your little child is no match for this big thirteen year old. That is my advice...don't even try to work it your eight year old child before this other child destroys him/her. You can not fix your SO's child, whether she would benefit from your care or not. But you CAN save your own child.
    Good luck!
  10. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    If this child is writing in her diary that she wants to stab you, you need to show that to her father NOW!! He needs to know how serious this is before someone gets hurt.

    Like everyone else said, there really is very little that you can do by yourself. You are not her mother. You are not even her stepmother. You are her father's SO and that is a tought spot to be in. Try to get your SO to find another therapist. Trust me, they do not all push medications as the first line of defense. Ours waited for years before went in that direction. Just because the first one that she went to was not a good fit does not mean that there is not someone out there that can truly help her, especially if she has a family history of mental illness. She may need some type of medications to help her, but that can't be your call. That has to come from her father.

    If your SO refuses to get her the help that she needs now, I would say that you need to get out. You have a daughter that needs to be protected from your "step daughter" and it is your job to make sure that she is safe. It's obvious that you care a great deal about her, but you can not fix this child by yourself.

    Good luck. Keep us posted at to how you all are doing. I hope that it gets better.

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am going to be quite blunt. Sorry if it isn't what you want to hear, but it needs to be said. Your job in life is first to love and protect YOUR child, then to find someone you love, then way down the line to help with his child/children. Get your daughter out of that situation. NOW. This is NO place for her to be. She is a MUCH easier target than you are and you CANNOT protect her from the other child. I thought I could protect my younger children from my difficult child - I couldn't. we ended up iwth him spending 4 months in a psychiatric hospital because he was strangling her in the middle of the night. the night I found this she was almost unconscious and it wasn't the first time. It is a MIRACLE that my Jessica is still alive. That is NOT a joke or overstatement, it is the flat, plain truth. She never said a WORD to us because he said he would kill their little brother and then me if she did. She had NO reason to not believe him. A couple of years later he started to hit me when he got upset and he got upset over everything. I had to insist that the sheriffs take him away and he cannot live with us. We have worked to rebuild our relationship - mine is better with him and he and the other kids now have a great relationship but they will NEVER live together again. Period.

    My husband and I are the bio parents of all 3 and we still couldn't keep everyone safe. For YEARS we didn't go out on dates at all because we couldn'tleave the kids with sitters. If one of us was home with the kids we couldn't even leave them alone long enough to pee. Not even the 120 seconds we pared peeing and hand washing down to. We had to take the same sex child into the bathroom with us. I took my daughter and husband took Wiz. Wiz felt thank you was too small to pick on and he was a boy and boy's don't "need" to be beaten in his mind (at the time) so thank you didn't end up hurt. But jess had bruises and/or was bleeding after EVERY time they were alone in a room for even a minute. If I was cooking I had to have one of them in the kitchen (which was tiny) with me.

    Even then he would get up after we were asleep and go attack her.

    Is this how you want your child's life to look? Your life to be? Do you want to go through all of this for a child who truly wants to KILL you? Who will NEVER be appreciative of ANYTHING and will HATE you for YEARS?

    Get out of that home. You can still date him, but don't live iwth him - don't put your child through all of this. yeah, it will make her stronger, but it may also make her hate you for putting her into that position and not keeping her safe. In your child's mind you will be choosing that man AND his awful daughter over her. Is that the message you want to send?

    If you do stay, STOP disciplining or caretaking the 13yo. That is NOT NOT NOT YOUR JOB. It is HIS job, her father's. She will resent EVERYTHING that you do and will do EVERYTHING she can to destroy and/or damage anything and everyone you care for. Period.

    I know it is hard, and you do deserve a life and someone to love you. No one is arguing that. That just cannot come first if your child is in danger, and she is.

    Please be aware that if you take stepdau to a therapist of any kind behind your husband's back it will not only show him that he cannot trust you, and that you do not trust him to parent his child, it iwll also destroy the career, reputation and ability to earn a living of the therapist. A therapist who treats a patient with-o the custodial parent's consent will lose her license. You can find all the therapists you want for yourself and YOUR child, but you cannot do it for his. You can suggest that he take her, and point out that you often have to go through several therapists before you find the right one, but you cannot do anything behind his back. If he doesn't want her in therapy and you take her, it will be a HUGE betrayal of him and your relationship. I would NEVER stay in a relationship with someone who did that with my child. Couldn't because they wouldn't be trustworthy.

    You need to worry more about YOUR daughter and less about his. I asked Jessica how she would have felt if I was in your situation and had moved us (her and I) into a house iwth a man that cared about us and his older child who was a difficult child. Jessica is VERY levelheaded, honest and up front. She is a complete easy child and a wonderful child and young woman. She was pretty blunt - she would HATE me because it would be clear that I was choosing this man AND his awful daughter (her word, I am NOT saying your stepdau is awful, but her behaviors sound awful) over her. It would seem to her that I cared more for the awful "step"daughter than I did for her because otherwise I would get her out of that unsafe situation.

    That is how most kids would feel, in my opinion. I typed exactly what she said to give you an idea of how your child may be viewing this. in my opinion you and your daughter need to be in therapy to work through this regardless of the choices you make about SO and his child. I also know that my daughter would not tell me all of the abuse from the older child because she wouldn't trust me to care because I put her in that situation and should already know what is going on and have stopped it. NOT an adult perspective, but a very common child's point of view.

    I know this is hard, and that you sincerely care for this man and are trying to care for his daughter. Every step parent book/guide/etc... I have ever seen has always said that teh step parent should NOT be involved in ANY matters of discipline, etc... The 2 of you should agree on some basic rules but he has to enforce them with his daughter and you with yours. My bro married a woman with 2 teen sons and refused to follow this advice (he refuses to follow any advice on anything so it wasn't a surprise). even though he is now divorced, her sons still will not visit her and will barely speak to her because she chose him over them. He WAS abusive to them (and her) and drove them away. Our family tried to help and looked at a lot of guides for step parents.

    I am sorry this wasn't as helpful as you maybe wanted. You just have to focus on your responsibilities and that means first protecting your daughter. You cannot while you live with this child who wants to hurt you. It just isn't possible.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about you. I'm assuming the heartfelt advice probably has shocked you as you expected suggestions on how to solve the problem. I'm sorry.

    I just wanted to add that your husband may be and probably is a wonderful man. The thing is that difficult children, more than the rest of us, are an accumulation of their life experiences. Every single expert states that the early years are the most important formative years. They can't be undone. When issues arise later on it is not a simple matter of finding a good therapist or a good psychiatrist. If you husband agrees to take his daughter to find help it will take a long time (some say forever with-o much hope for permanent change) and it will take intensive treatment. He won't be able to make an appointment, attend an appointment and solve the problem. That's why so many of us have been on this CD Board for five, ten, fifteen years. Unlike a physical ailment that can be solved by surgery or medications...mental health and emotional issues take daily,diligent supervision for years and years. It can and does effect everyone around. The responses you've received have been offered from the hearts of people who are leading lives you don't want to copy. Many hugs. DDD
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    *HUGS* TF. I may not be in your situation, but I can say from the time I have spent here that these ladies DO know what they're talking about, and I agree with them. Your daughter cannot protect herself - that's your job as her parent. It's hard enough to protect a kid from their own selves when they really need it, to protect them from someone else in the home requires a diligence and ability that takes a team capable of staying on high alert 24/7. His daughter is more than capable of ruining your relationship with him just by being herself (raising these kids is highly stressful and that alone will take a massive toll on any relationship). The question is how much will this kid ruin your kid before you get her out of there?
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Texasfilly, you sound like you have a really big heart. I suspect you wear it on your sleeve. You have a huge amount of love to go around and people who meet you can see this fairly early on.

    I think this can be a two-edged sword for you. Your SO may be a lovely bloke, but he sounds totally out of his depth. At some level he is almost certainly blaming himself, and is scared (possibly rightly) that a therapist would blame him (probably wrongly). He feels out of his depth, not sure what to do but certainly believing that what his daughter needs, has needed, is love and a normal family life. He undoubtedly feels he needs that, too.

    Then he met you. The answer to his prayers on so many levels. I am NOT saying that he only wants you for your nurturing nature and to mother his daughter. I would bet his main motive is - he loves you. But in a situation like this, love is not enough. Also, at a subconscious level, he was looking for someone to rescue him and his daughter and I bet you fit the bill in so many ways.

    Only nobody can do what you are trying to do. Legally it is not permitted. Morally, it should never be asked of you.

    Sadly I have seen this before - a bloke remarries (either formally, or moves in with someone) for complex reasons that may include love but go way beyond. The bloke then relaxes from his former position of concern, and feels he has solved his problem by taking on a new partner who will pick up the ball and run with it.

    Only in your case, he has also drawn certain boundaries - don't take her to a therapist. I really think he is scared of what a therapist might say. This is sad, because I suspect this girl's problems run so deep, no one person should ever be blamed. And it is not necessarily all nurture - sometimes, often, the child is born with underlying problems or at the very least, the tendency to develop a mental disorder which, like all illness, requires medical treatment or the disease progresses.

    As the others have said - your first duty is to your own family unit. That is you, and your daughter. Obviously part of your duty to you is to allow yourself some happiness in love. But you don't have to live together for this, and frankly I think at the moment, you need to move out with your daughter but not necessarily break up. Just move out for the sake of your child.

    When two people meet and fall in love, they eventually want to share their lives. But when these people already have had a life before with someone else (and at the very least, the child you each have is this) then things don't follow the usual rules of relationship. You can't just do what you would do, if you didn't have children. The child didn't have a choice, and if the child is a problem kid, they will actively resent and prevent the relationship from developing.

    My best friend became involved with a married man. The man told her that although he still lived with his wife, they were in reality separated but under the same roof. The man's wife had, from the moment their son was born, poured all her emotional energy into the boy and ignored the marriage. She had affairs; he had affairs. But he would never formally leave because there were practical and financial issues. So my friend continued her affair, saw her boyfriend about once a week when he might drop in at any hour of the day but mostly night. She became accustomed to him arriving at 4 am. But she was content with this. And in a way, they both were getting something out of even this minimal a relationship.
    Then his wife went in to hospital for routine surgery, and died on the table. Very unexpected, very sudden. He grieved, even though they had not loved one another for years. Their son, late teens by this stage, was inconsolable, because his relationship with his mother had been so intense.
    My friend gave her boyfriend some space. She had always been careful, also, to not let the son or the wife know about her (although the wife had known; she told her husband before the surgery that she knew he had a mistress stashed somewhere but had not told their son).
    It took two years before the dad was able to be seen by his son, to have a life of his own. Before that, any hint of a companion would trigger histrionics in the young man. The father and son had a lot of work to put in, to rebuild their relationship, since the mother had very successfully alienated her husband from the boy. In those two years, my friend saw her boyfriend even less often than before his wife had died. She felt frustrated at times, but understood the necessity.

    Then came the time, ground carefully prepared by the dad, when my friend slept over and the son came home unexpectedly. It was sticky, but because the dad had already said he had a girlfriend, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Very early on after she met him, my friend told the son, "I am not your mother, nor will I ever try to be. You are a man, you do not need me as a mother."

    The relationship has been going now for ten years or more. My friend still keeps her own home and only occasionally sleeps over at her boyfriend's place, maybe one night a fortnight. Boyfriend sleeps over at her place about the same amount. The relationship has progressed and increasingly, friends have accepted that they are a long-term couple. But it has not been easy. They needed to consider the children of both of them. My friend's children were both adults when she began her relationship, her children had already left home. They met him fairly early, and accepted him.

    Love can find a way, but when there are practical problems you need to get inventive and you also often need to take things much more slowly, and much more carefully.

    And always, be aware that there are some men out there who will consciously or subconsciously, seek out a mother rather than a lover. A mother for them, as much as for their kids. And then they begin to behave like an oppositional child in the relationship instead of a partner.

    In a loving relationship, you need a partner. You also each have your own responsibilities which you each need to meet, for the sake of your relationship. Not only do you have to work on your link with one another, you also have to work on your own responsibilities so they don't get in the way of your partner. This is a much taller order than we ever encounter when we first fall in love as teenagers. I think that is why so many subsequent relationships struggle so much more - it is a lot more difficult, there is a lot more to do, second time around.

    It's OK to love this guy, and to love his daughter. But you and your daughter have to come first for now. Find your own space, a space where your daughter can feel her space is not infringed by someone who is totally unrelated to her. Enjoy your partner, but from a distance. Encourage him to get help for his daughter, as you are getting help for you and yours. And take things a little more slowly, watch how he handles the problem with his daughter.

    How he responds to this will determine if your relationship is meant to be. If he accepts this, if he works on things, then you are meant to be. If he does not or if he behaves like a petulant child, then the sooner you get out the better.

  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Marg knows whereof she speaks. This sort-of happened to me - and I did not realize what was happening, simply because the kids did not live here. When I figured it out - well, it was pretty late in the game, but I laid it on the line. And husband agreed to try. If he had not, we would not be together now.

    If he truly loves you - as a man should - he will understand the distance. You HAVE TO keep your child safe. I missed that you had your own, somehow. But your child - and you - come before them.

    And if it IS meant to be - it will.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Step's right. If it IS meant to be, it will not only survive your moving out, but it will thrive. It will also force him to deal with his own daughter, and remove any chance she has of laying the blame on you or your daughter. It becomes just about them. meanwhile you still see him, you go out together, maybe even have the occasional afternoon outing as a family. But keep it sort and manageable.

    But if it is not meant to be - then the sooner you find out, the sooner you can move on with your life, without you or your daughter being at risk.

    If you move out and the relationship fails, then it was never going to succeed. And the sooner you know this, the better.

    Good luck. Hugs. To him and to you. And your daughter.

  17. troubled

    troubled Guest

    I can only underline what the others before me have said because I was in a similar relationship with the difference being that I was the one with the difficult child who was out of control while the boyfriend came to visit on weekends but wanted to get married/move in/spend more time with me. The first time we broke up for a while because my boyfriend tried to step in and discipline difficult child the way he disciplined his own kids and it didn't work and I did not want him disciplining difficult child at all. We were constantly at each other then and he jumped on the "blame the mother" bandwagon when it came to difficult child's behavior. Finally it got so bad that I dreaded him coming over at all and one night when I had had enough of his complaining about me being tired and all, I told him to go and never return. It was becoming such a burden that I was happy for awhile when he left and I could focus on difficult child more. difficult child's can be a real relationship killer. They tend to suck the life right out of you, leaving very little left for anyone else. When you aren't paying any attention to them is when they seem to act up the most and as far as my difficult child, she is a bottomless pit of wanting and needing attention. It's never enough, even now. It sounds sad, but that's been my experience especially when they get to be teens and you can't find anyone to look after them so you can have some time to yourself. There is no respite for parents of older difficult children. *sigh*