Feeling Anxious and Alone


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I've been waking up every morning lately feeling very stressed. Every little thing is getting on my nerves. Stuff that normally wouldn't even hit my radar. The combination of the regular stresses of the holidays, combined with taking care of our 3 yr old GS full time, working full time, figuring out who will be around for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (PCs splitting time with Ex and I), etc.

Add to that, husband is still in his own little world when it comes to difficult child. I have to give him credit that he's not the enabler he used to be, but he's not over it yet and I don't know how to handle it. He's a very private person and doesn't like having our family business out there for everyone to know. He has NO CLUE about this forum and I will keep it that way as it's my only outlet to get a true objective opinion and to learn from those who have been there, done that.

We had an argument the other day about difficult child (the only topic we ever argue about) wherein he pointed out to me that while she was in the midst of her addiction, I was always there for her to support her emotionally and financially. Now that she's got 90+ days clean, he says I've abandoned her. Now that she's doing the right things, I'm not there to support her at all. I don't treat her like family. He's right. I love her. I don't like her.

After all she did, all she put us through, and what we continue to go through in taking care of her son, etc., she still shows (me) absolutely no gratitude. I text her, she doesn't text me back half the time. I made a card for her and had GS pick out pictures of him and sent it to her. She thanked husband and GS. I never heard a word, not even a text. She has always treated me as if I was in her way. I was there to do whatever she needed me to do and has never reciprocated. Just the step-mom, an intruder in her and her dad's lives.

I've barely had any contact with her since that dreadful night when everything hit the fan. When her drug abuse was finally recognized by husband, when she flipped out, attacked me, terrified GS and made it very clear that I am not her family. I don't know how to move on from that. I know I would like to just write her off, never to hear from her again at this point. But I can't do that as husband is nowhere near where I am. And never will be.

difficult child was giving him the sob story the other day about having no money after she pays her rent and bills, which she has to split between she and the other residents of the house. The rent is only $250/month. She told husband she hadn't gotten the first utility bill for this new recovery house yet, but she said it would probably be about $125-150/month (lies!!) There are 7 people in that house and the utilities could never be that high per person. It's just another manipulative way of getting husband to feel sorry for her. She's been working since the week of Thanksgiving and as far as I know has little to nothing in her bank account. I don't feel bad for her. She blows money as soon as she gets it and never has anything to show for it. Her manipulation worked on him...

We were planning on giving easy child 2 a couple small gifts for Christmas and the rest in money for daycare. He actually said something about giving difficult child money for Christmas as well. WHAT?!! He said, "What? Do you think she'll use it to buy drugs?" At this point, probably not as she seems pretty committed to her sobriety, but I don't want to give her cash, anyway. Ironically, when she was talking about her bills with husband, she said to him she knew no one would be giving her cash for Christmas this year after everything that happened. She conned a lot of people out of a lot money over the years to support her habit. She gave him the free pass (with a little manipulation on the side) and he still wants to give her money! It is unbelievable to me.

I know this is a long post and everything just seems to spilling out all at once today. I just needed to get it all out and hear from sane people to maybe (maybe not) validate my feelings on all this.


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The first thing I thought about is, how is the state of your marriage?

Honestly, I admit I'm overly sensitive. If one of my children spoke to my husband, but not me, and if husband didn't tell her to stop that nonsense and talk to her mother or don't talk to him either, I don't know that I could live in that environment. I believe the two of your badly need marriage counseling or you will continue to be hurt through NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN. Your husband is making her deeds toward you and how she treats you as being ok.

You can not change him. If you are committed to your marriage, I suggest therapy for yourself so you can figure out how to cope with this difficult situation. And if husband freaks out because you are trying to help yourself, that tells you how much HE cares about you too. He should want you to do what you can to help yourself over worrying about a therapist knowing his business. If he doesn't, maybe it's time to take a look at who your husband really is, deep inside. Is he for you? To me, his behavior is so controlling (MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY) and also disrespectful toward you. Your daughter is playing him against you and she knows it. And ninety days is not long enough to declare sobriety, nor does either of you really know if she's been sober. IF she isn't using drugs, why is all her money gone? I'd be skeptical. If she IS sober, and I'd think hard about the missing money, then she still doesn't deserve a reward for living life the right way.

Just my thoughts. I am sorry you are hurting. This is very difficult, when a kid divides the parents. You have some hard thinking to do about how you want to write the rest of your life. Hugs!!!
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IF she isn't using drugs, why is all her money gone? I'd be skeptical. If she IS sober, and I'd think hard about the missing money, then she still doesn't deserve a reward for living life the right way.
I have to agree - 90 days is not long enough to see if someone is leading a sober life. Maybe if you tell husband that you think giving the money to her would be hurting her more than helping her he would understand. I also agree sober or not difficult child is trying to pull the two of you (husband and you) apart by playing games and he should be standing up for you. She is already dividing the two of you by not talking to you, not having to apologize for her past behaviors (part of true sobriety by the way) and the two of them having discussions behind your back.
What you need to do about it is up to you but I am in agreement that at least you need to get into to therapy. At one time my husband and I were having communication problems and husband refused to go to therapy but I went anyway. In therapy I learned coping kills for dealing with things I didn't always agree with. (he would have 5 year old type temper tantrums LOL) He still has them to this day, but I have learned to just walk away and go do something pleasant for myself until he cools down - and he does cool down & much faster since we quit fighting about it. (My friends had a good laugh when they saw me purchasing a pin that said "I am 5 years old today", said we all needed one for husband's some days!)


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The other day husband and I were speaking and he was giving me a hard time again about not treating difficult child like family, etc. (She is my Step daughter). I told him I need help from someone else, that I told him that from the day she went to detox when he freaked out about me suggesting alanon. I reminded him of that and that I still need help...and so does he.

I've not been successful in the marriage department and I really want to make this work. We've been married a little over 6 years. Half of our marriage difficult child and GS lived with us. easy child 2 and GD also lived with us along with easy child 3 half the time. easy child 2 was still in high school when we got married and easy child 3 is 5 years younger than her.

husband was my rock years ago when I was dealing with a lot of crap with my ex. husband and I were friends before we became involved and he was there as a friend and emotional support through my whole ordeal. Ex got heavily into drugs - he was an anesthetist who got into "sharing" patients' drugs and was shooting up phentanyl. He got arrested for stealing drugs from the ambulance he was working on after being fired from his other job and got busted replacing morphine vials with saline. While on bail from that, he got a DUI and it all went downhill from there. He went to jail for 6 months, then a halfway house for another 6 months. He was diagnosed bi-polar but he's really more of a sociopath or something. If he says it, he believes it to be true. He's never wrong, everyone else is crazy, etc. He is the definition of a nightmare.

Having been through all that with Ex, I made it clear to husband I would not live through that again with difficult child. And I would not expose PCs to that again, either.

I digress...All kids make bad decisions. I have it in my head that difficult child, at 32 yrs old, should make better decisions than my 17 yr old and 22 yr old. I think 32 should act more mature than 22 and 17. I think we should be harder on 32 than 22 and 17. Every time I bring up something about difficult child, he automatically brings up bad decisions 22 had made, or how 17 gets away with more than the others did. Is it unreasonable of me to expect more of difficult child? He still treats her like she's a teenager. It's beyond frustrating to me. And as many times as I try to explain it, he doesn't get it.

All difficult child's mail comes to our house. We open the stuff from the State because it directly impacts GS's benefits, etc. husband opened difficult child's bank last bank statement. I know, shouldn't do it but he did and I freely checked it out. She started the month with $400.00. Ended with $29.00. She spent it all on going out to eat, cigarettes, and clothes. She knows no boundaries when it comes to blowing money on nothing.

We aren't on facebook but kids and friends are and I am shocked at some of the horrendous decisions she's making. The other day easy child 2 texted me a picture that difficult child had posted. Now remember, she's going to see GS on Christmas for the first time in 2 months, and she has shaved part of her head. Why? WHY? A few days later, she shaved more so half her head is shaved and it has some design in it. husband's initial reaction was outraged. But of course, after speaking to her, he thought it wasn't so bad after all. And because I said I couldn't fathom the thought of doing something like that, I was being caddy and then went straight to PCs and "what about all her tattoos?" difficult child is covered in them, too.

Again, he wants to compare difficult child to PCs as if they are all on the same playing field and equal. I don't agree they are equal.

Am I being the evil step mother?


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Comparing different kids, especially 'my kids, your kids' is not constructive. Not to either direction. Kids are different both as children and adults, you really can't treat them the same or expect same things from them. And with blended family, it is often best not to take much part to discipline/parenting/boundary etc. choices of your spouse, especially not with their teen or adult kids.

You need to have your boundaries when it comes to your step children, but those are yours, your husband naturally has different relationship with his kids. You have right to be treated respectfully in your house, but to be honest, it is understandable if your husband doesn't feel you need to have much say with his relationship with his daughter (when she is not in your house.) And he has no right to bash your kids to make his look better.

Marital counselling could really be helpful for you to learn to talk and compromise better and to learn to draw clearer boundaries when it comes to how to deal with your kids and their issues.


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Comparing different kids, especially 'my kids, your kids' is not constructive
If you didn't have kids and the only kid in the picture was his difficult child, it would be a different picture. As it would be if there was no difficult child, he had no kids, and your two were the only kids.

Step-parenting is a minefield at the best of times.

I agree with SuZir. It might be time for help from an independent 3rd party. Not so much "marriage counselor" as someone who can help both of you deal with the step-parenting role, especially given that one of the "kids" is a difficult child.


Active Member
SuZir, I get it. I can't control what she does, any more than husband can control what my kids do. I'm just not sure how to turn a blind eye to some of it.

My greater concern, is husband and I have Guardianship of difficult child's 3 yr old son. husband loves to spoil him, as do I...to an extent. But husband knows no boundaries when it comes to GS, which is part of the reason difficult child ended up feeling so entitled all her life. He spoiled the crap out of her, to the point where she can't (won't) appreciate anything. I don't want that to happen with GS. husband and I both agree there's a very good chance difficult child won't be back for GS and we will be raising him.

difficult child was born with a meth addiction. difficult child was doing drugs when she got pregnant and says she stopped after finding out. GS was not born with an addiction, but he certainly has a predisposition for it. 3rd generation. It scares the you-know-what out of me. I read in someone's post to PG that looking inside to see what caused our difficult child to go down this path - what did we do to contribute-needs to be addressed so we don't go down the same path with our GS. That really hit home with me.

Thank you all for you support and advice. It helps me refocus.


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Ok. I thought this was your daughter. It does make a difference. At the same time, I think that your two very different parenting styles are going to do your marriage in if you DON'T get help. Also, understand, many kids are spoiled and do not act like children when they are 32. That is her personality that he is enabling. However, how she cuts her hair or colors it or if she removes her eyebrows...to me those things are not important. The main problem is how differently you feel about what he does and how both of you see yourselves as long term parents for this GS and are nowhere on the same page.

Nobody was more spoiled, materially and emotionally, than my youngest daughter Jumper. She still is not an entitled thinker, does not do drugs, doesn't even drink, and is in college to become an asset in criminal justice. Honestly, she is hubs only daughter and he thinks she hung the moon. But she is not in trouble. I don't know exactly what "spoiled" means, I just know that you can raise two kids the same exact way and get two exactly opposite results. Both of you either need to get on the same page or this will fall apart in time. You are fundamentally worried about two separate issues. If I were you, I'd step out of stepdaughter's life. What he does to enable her, he does and you can't stop him. If she cuts her hair in a weird way, no skin off your nose, ya know? Who cares? It's not your child and she obviously doesn't feel as if you are her mother so let him handle her his way.

I'm mostly concerned about the grandchild and how your husband turns his daughter's behavior around and picks on your two kids. Yes, I don't think you should compare a 32 year old to a 17 year old, but that isn't the problem. That's the surface of the problem. You and your husband do not get along in very important ways and I'll bet your kids aren't feeling the warm, loving family cocoon any more than difficult child is.

If you do not get into treatment together (and you can start by doing it alone) and learn to cope with all this, it will overwhelm you. It still may, but you can try. Husband can not stop you from going to Al-Anon or seeking other help. I would calmly tell him, "I am doing this for myself. You don't have to agree or to join me, although you are welcome to do so, but I am going to get help for myself." And if he goes on and on about it, do the best you can to ignore him. Maybe he'd feel more comfortable if you saw a private therapist.

I wish you luck in common to some constructive common ground. Try to find some peace and happiness today...and I would personally let husband do what he wants with difficult child unless the money he sends her is breaking the bank.

Many hugs ;)


Active Member
MWM you are absolutely right. All of it. And I guess I kind of knew that going into my post today but needed to hear it from someone else.

How difficult child cuts her hair or whatever really is not the issue. And I know I could benefit from therapy. We both could. Now I just need to carve out the time...

Thank you!


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Stressed I'm sorry you are feeling stressed and not supported. I Noted the irony that your husband thinks you supported difficult child before and now that she is sober you don't. That's what happens when we enablers finally stop enabling. He really needs to get inot an al-anon or parent support group to understand this. Also I never give my difficult child money, years later still. I will buy her food or help her pay utilities but won't give her money. Even though I know she won't use it for drugs or alcohol I know her boyfriend will buy beer with it so I just won't do it.