My wife won't accept that her daughter is just a bad person

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by RayJay, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. RayJay

    RayJay New Member

    Hey everyone, long time lurker, first time poster.

    I've been with my wife for 3.5 years and we just got married last month. Pretty much during that whole time her daughter has been a complete disaster which I can only say is typical of a lot of the stories I read here.

    She's 22 now but apparently the downward spiral started to hit when she was around 16. Many, many long stories made short:

    • Started with cocaine, moved to meth and heroin, she' currently in rehab so we'll see how that goes, I predict not well in the long run.
    • In and out of jail for a variety of things including drug possession, parole violations, theft, etc.
    • Treat's us, and in particular, my wife like absolute dogshit. Yelling, calling her a :censored2:, blaming her for her problems even though we've done what we can to "help" which is really just fancy talk for enabling her.
    Right now she's living with her dad after coming back from another state and ever since she's gotten back my wife has been on a downward spiral from the stress even though she hasn't seen her. Her daughter, amazingly enough to me, has been clean for I think about 6 months now so I'm pretty happy about that. BUT, the shitty behavior continues. Whenever they get into an argument my wife then decides it's time to take out all of her frustration and anger out on me which I have had enough of and I told her that yesterday as well.

    My wife got into an argument with her the other day and ever since she's been a wreck. This is when she got called a :censored2: by her daughter for telling her she shouldn't be driving an uninsured car she doesn't own with no license.

    We provide her an older cell phone on our plan which I'm inclined to turn off at this point and she's on my health insurance so in the event she decides to get serious then she'll be covered until she's 26. It doesn't cost me anything extra so I'm OK having her on there.

    So last night after she got home she broke down again because she was so sad and started going on about why everyone in her life just wants to make her miserable. She comes from a pretty messed up family but we've successfully erected some pretty good boundaries with everyone. Her daughter is the exception though we have put some boundaries in place there too, but emotionally she still has a huge influence on her. She always blames the people she hangs around as the reason she's such an :censored2: all time.

    So now with that being said, I finally told her last night that it's not the people she hangs around with that drags her down, it's HER! If it isn't this guy, it's some other guy or some other group of friends. I told her she's not the same person she used to be or the person you're hanging on to. I flat out told her that her daughter is a shitty person just because she's a shitty person, it's all on her.

    This of course made her cry more but I felt like it needed to be said. She said I'll never understand, etc, etc. Basically she has the "but my kid is the exception" attitude and all she needs to do is stop hanging around all these other shitty people and then she'll be fine, which of course is just her lying to herself.

    I guess what I'm looking for is any advice when dealing with a spouse that won't see things for what they are? Any success stories? Books or articles to read?

    I'm kind of at the end of my rope. Tonight I'm going to tell her that I'm no longer going to let her kid drag me down and I'm not going to let her negative emotions toward her kid do that either. I'm almost 40 and I want to enjoy the rest of my life, not get dragged through the mud because of her abusive kid. I'm going to tell her that I'm moving forward with my life and I'm going to be happy and if she wants to join me on planet happy then I'd love to have her. If not then we'll just be married until all this eventually destroys us if she can't or won't get help for herself.

    Thanks for the input everyone.
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Al Anon is great for people who love addicts or their enablers. Not all groups are equally good, but check around. Or they have online groups. Or see a private therapist.

    Fact is you cant control your wife or make her see the truth. Certainly stepdaughter is perfectly capable of dumping her dysfunction cohorts. She just doesnt want to. Truth be told, until she gets clean only users will want her around. But you cant force wife to see this. She has to realize this herself. So you have to learn how to cope with all this dysfunction in a way that works for you.

    Good luck!
     
  3. RayJay

    RayJay New Member

    Yeah she's been to Al anon and those sorts of groups before and hated them. Also they tend to be very religious which we are not so we don't feel like we really belong there. She has a lot of support from people in her life but I think a therapist is a good move...if I can even get her to see one.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yep. Often people in your life dont understand addiction and cant help. Often they tell you to stand by the addict no matter what, which is not helpful and produces guilt, or they blame the parent or tell you what they would do even though they never went through it.

    i meant you can go yourself for help if your wife refuses to see what her daughter is like. You have to take care of yourself in this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  5. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    Planet Happy sounds like a good destination. If your wife prefers the black hole of codependency right now, all you can do is have strong boundaries so she doesn't pull you in there with her.

    If she has a blow out with daughter and wants to take it out on you, tell her that's not OK. If she keeps it up, go to the man cave or leave the house for awhile. Don't get in a fight with her, just calmly tell her you'll be happy to talk later and then leave.

    You can't make her stop being codependent, but you don't have to be part of it.
     
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  6. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    I agree completely with DoneDad. You can't make her stop being a codependent, but you don't need to participate. We can't assure you that she will ever understand about being a codependent. There is a book called Codependent No More which you could buy and read. But you can't make your wife read it until she is ready.

    My late husband's parents never did understand their role in his roller coaster of a life. He called his Daddy to come bail him out of jail when he was 55 years old.
     
  7. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I can really relate to the stress you talk about on your marriage. I think the advice to focus on yourself and to get support through a 12 step group is right on target. You might have to shop around. Some groups are better than others, and mine has helped me tremendously. My husband is the stepdad like yourself and is tired of all the drama and bad behavior of my 36 year old daughter. Now there are two grandkids involved. The only contact my daughter has with me is when she wants rescuing, and even then she manages to be verbally abusive and blaming. I work hard to set boundaries, and even though she is on the verge of being homeless, I have not let her move in with us. I couldn't stand that level of stress everyday. She would be the first to tell you what a horrible person I am. I guess what I can empathize with re your wife is that we are mothers and all of this hurts. Even though logic tells me otherwise, because of my daughter's manipulation, I doubt myself. I set boundaries, but it is truly an awful feeling to know that they may be on the street. I will be blamed. I am pretty certain my daughter has borderline, but it is her choice to get help.
    Be kind to yourself and your wife. You can say what you mean without being mean, and you may need to detach and take care of yourself for awhile.
     
  8. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    RayJay:

    Sorry you are going through this and it is not easy. It is not a sprint but a marathon.

    Your stepdaughter may not really be a "bad person". It is the drug use that is causing her behaviors and poor choices. Your wife knows that her real daughter is "in there somewhere" and it's pretty damned hard for a mother to give up on her child. Trust me. I know.

    Instead of attacking each other - which is what happens to marriages when you are dealing with this - mine included, I'd suggest going to therapy together to figure out HOW TO DEAL WITH what is happening in your lives.

    If daughter is not living with you, that is a great start. But your wife cannot allow your daughter to pull her into the drama which can be done off-site unfortunately! She cannot allow her daughter to call her names and be abusive. Period.

    Your wife needs to learn how to set up healthy boundaries with her daughter. This will be better for all involved. Your wife will feel better, your life will be better and it will shift the responsibility on to the daughter for her own life!

    You probably can't change your stepdaughter, but YOU TWO can change how you deal with her. It doesn't mean your wife does not love her. It actually is what true love really is. Standing out of the way and letting daughter make her own life and follow her own path. She is an adult.

    We started dealing with this when our son was 15 and he is almost 22 and no longer in our home and our home is peaceful but he is still struggling and has had many setbacks. Drug use alters their brain. They don't think like they should. But there is hope that they eventually will turn it around. It does happen.

    In the meantime, you two deserve to be happy and enjoy each other and YOUR life.
     
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  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RayJay, my husband was instrumental in helping me see the situation with my daughter clearly. (he is not her father) He shared his 'reactions' to her, he wasn't at all critical or judgmental, he told me how it felt to him to not only deal with my daughter but to watch me suffer. It was his consistent, yet calm, non judgmental, honest sharing of his feelings about the situation that helped me to see what I could not see by myself. When I saw how much he was struggling with it, it made a big difference to me. When I heard how he felt, it was pretty much how I felt too, so I felt acknowledged and heard because he was right there going thru it with me. He was also in his own support system so he had a place he could vent about it when I wasn't there.

    It's extremely difficult for parents, perhaps more challenging for mothers, I am not sure about that, but it seems we Mom's have a real challenge seeing our own children in the light of truth. We want to see them as being ok, otherwise we generally judge and blame ourselves very harshly. We are already blaming ourselves and feeling guilty, so it takes a soft touch, in my opinion, to say the truth to someone who doesn't want to hear it, in a way that can be heard. I could hear my husband because he was not judgmental and he tends to be a gentle soul anyway, so his approach was soft. I heard him and it helped me tremendously. After he told me how he felt that time, we then began to be a team, we could talk about it without making each other wrong.

    One thing I would suggest if it feels right to you is to take time to be with your wife alone without this drama plaguing you. We began taking short day long road trips to the ocean or the woods. I would be stressed out because of my daughter's latest dramas and we would hop in the car and take off. For maybe an hour we would talk about her and what was going on and then as we got further from home, it would oddly dissipate.......we would begin to enjoy the scenery, or the ocean or wherever we went. We'd go out to lunch in a town we'd never been. We began hiking a lot together and that was also helpful. We did the road trips at least weekly for awhile, until I became better at accepting what is. It is a process, it takes time. It was indeed the most difficult thing I have ever done and it may be important for you to recognize just how devastating this is for your wife and show her real compassion and empathy.

    Your wife may or may not change and learn to detach from her daughter, and as the others have stated, it may be wise for you both to seek counseling together by someone who is knowledgeable in substance abuse and codependency issues, as well as you attending an Al Anon group or Narc Anon, or CoDA or Families Anonymous (many here have found solace, guidance, inspiration and support in the 12 step programs)...and yes they do lean toward being religious, however, you can let that part go and focus on what others are talking about in their recovery stories. It is the group energy that is important, the rest you can leave alone if it doesn't fit and simply take what you need. It sounds to me as if you both could use support.

    I agree about reading Codependent no More by Melodie Beatty and you might find value in the article on detachment at the bottom of my post.

    You entered in to a difficult situation with your wife's daughter....in my opinion, professional help is indicated. Someone who can help her to see the truth and to learn to accept it.... and to help you be a good support for your wife as she goes thru this. You may or may not succeed, but it sure seems worth the try.
     
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  10. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Marriage counseling might be helpful. A therapist may be able to help your wife develop better strategies for dealing with her daughter.
     
  11. seek

    seek Member

    You just got married LAST MONTH?

    Kind of radical, given your ultimatum THIS MONTH.