Resentment & Envy over easy child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Doddlin, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Doddlin

    Doddlin Guest

    Hi All - I am having a meltdown over easy child. My bio children (difficult child#1 and difficult child#2) are doing terribly and easy child (step daughter) is perfect. Well, she isn't perfect and never really has been. We were estranged from her from age 15 to 19. She is now 21 so she has made contact with us and working on things with us for the past couple of years. However, even before she was 15 and visited on weekends, husband trained me to treat her like a princess.... based on how he treats her this way. No correction, look past anything she does or says, praise her, fill her full of herself. Even difficult child#3 (step son) has felt like she always got special treatment.

    Since she has started coming around, this seems to have continued. We had to throw a big family BBQ for her this weekend just because she came to town (she is out of state with military job normally). She didn't even thank us. At Christmas we go all out, she comes by to pick up the stuff and off she goes. No gifts for us (I know, childish of me to think this way). Anyway, I am becoming resentful that she seems to be more deserving of special treatment, indulgence, love and support. With my boys, we have always corrected, no indulged, etc. I feel really resentful that husband treats the kids differently too. easy child is wonderful you know.

    In addition, I feel envy. I feel like easy child has it all. She is doing well, has a nice place with a pool (renting), nice military living to stand on her feet, just bought a new car (came to brag about this weekend), is so beautiful (that is all the family can talk about), etc. My boys have none of this going on. They are very handsome, but not taking good care of themselves and certainly the In-law family doesn't really notice if they are around or not. It's all about easy child now. My own family isn't really part of our lives much. (sex-abuse and alcoholism when I grew up).

    I know I probably have "issues" from my own past causing me to feel the envy. The resentment is about the fact that husband treats the kids differently. I'm sure I've trained him that it's ok to hold the boys accountable and see their behavior for what it is.... no indulging or disillusions. Anyway, I hope this all makes sense. Do any of you have experience with feelings like this and how do you cope?

    Green eyed monster today:confused:
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I can sort-of sympathize... I do understand...
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Doddlin.
    no, you are not a complainer or abnormally resentful.
    You smelled a rat and now you need to expose it.
    This woman is 21.
    She is in the military.
    She needs to grow up.
    She can take a bullet but she can't write a thank you note? Get real.

    Sit down and calmly discuss the issue with-your husband. Alone.
    Tell him that you apologize for not bringing it up sooner, but you needed time to think, to sort through the facts, to ensure that you resolve the issue and do not just complain. Tell him that you need his help on this issue because it affects you, him, your difficult children, and his daughter. More than anything, it affects your marriage.
    Tell him that you are a team, and that you do not want him to get defensive. Again, this is a problem solving discussion.

    In my own family, when kids turn 21, they are out of the loop for automatic gift-giving. Now that we've been hit by a rough economy, it's 18. I told our daughter what my own family rule was and told her that if she would like to exchange gifts on birthdays and Christmas, etc., with-any other relatitves, it is now on her shoulders.
    She was disappointed but she understood.
    On one hand, she was excited to buy for 1 or 2 fave relatives, but she worried about her cash flow.
    on the other hand, she tends to be forgetful ...

    I remind her ea time there is a holiday, that this is the rule.

    You and your husband need to come up with-something similar.

    I hope this helps.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    First of all--((((hugs))))
    It definitely stinks to feel like the "green-eyed-monster"...even if it seems justified.

    I think you need to let it go.

    In my family, we had a few relatives that always seemed to get the "star" treatment...and I was left in the "what am I, chopped liver?" crowd. But, I soon realized that it was NOT the fault of the "star" that this was happening. I began to see that other dysfunctional relatives were allowing the "star" to dictate the family activities--and pretending that the "star"s successes were EVERYBODY's successes. Look--since the "star" has a new car, we can all celebrate having a new car. Look--since the "star" is getting a promotion, we can all celebrate getting a promotion. Since the "star" is visiting, we can all have a party.

    In a bizarre way, by making it all about the "star"--the family was living vicariously. Isn't she wonderful? Therefore, I must be wonderful because I am the "star"s relative. Success by association.

    I learned that I did not have to play by these rules....and when I stopped playing along--I felt better....and I began to resent the "stars" less and less.

    I think you should stop playing, too...and the green-eyed monster will probably just fade away.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Doddlin, I agree with Terry. There's nothing wrong or unreasonable about your reactions to this.

    I wonder...does your husband feel that he has to tiptoe around easy child lest the estrangement start up again? At any rate, regardless of husband's motivations, easy child is an adult and the relationship you have with her should be based on those lines. She should respect the fact that she is a visitor in your home, and you should treat her like the adult she is. Which means holding her accountable for her behaviour.

    I think Terry's suggestions about a talk with husband are very good. Thing is, husband's relationship with his daughter is his responsibility. You need to step out of the middle of it as much as you can and deal with her on your own terms. If that means keeping your distance, then so be it. It must be awfully hard on your difficult children (both bio and step) to see her get special treatment and no discipline, while they're held to account. When I first came on the scene, my Step-D was very jealous of my relationship with husband and felt she was being displaced. Her behaviour was something appalling for quite a while. I didn't put up with it, and eventually my husband caught on and stopped spoiling her as well.

    If your husband wants to throw her a special party, then that is his prerogative. I wouldn't put myself out too much for it. Especially for someone who seems entitled and spoilt.

    Sending many hugs,
  6. Doddlin

    Doddlin Guest

    Oh my gosh... you all have such good insight. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy.

    I did discuss the "party" for her before it was even planned. I mentioned how badly all her cousins and siblings would feel since nobody has thrown them a party just because they decide to show up after being an angry monster for years. Seems the cousins have great things going on in their lives and the family doesn't feel the need to celebrate it with "star" treatment. He said it's because they all felt bad for him for having to endure several years without her coming around. (which was not his fault, he was a supportive/loving father). Anyway, I would hate to be one of the other kids and see how we all have to behave when easy child comes around. UGH. I am sure I'm sensitive to it from their perspective because I too grew up with blatant favor being show to my step brothers by family. I NEVER say anything to her about it and I'm always loving and kind to her. But, I find that it's after that I become resentful. Like... "why do I do this when I know later I will feel resentful?" I figure it's because I know that husband wishes for her to feel SOOO special whenever she is around and that if I don't do the same, he will see me as not supportive and resent me. Ugh. What a mess.

    Last night we talked about it and I stayed calm, but expressed exactly how I felt. He didn't like it of course. He says it's because he missed out on so much after the divorce and during her teen years. That since he doesn't see her very often... blah, blah, blah. I explained that he may not have missed that much in teen years... look what I'm NOT MISSING with my teenagers. LOL. Anyway, it seems to be the disneyland Dad syndrome I guess. I mean, If I had thrown a party in honor of one of my difficult child's and didn't even get a thank you Mom... I would have communicated my disappointment in their manners. But, I guess we wouldn't want her to get upset by holding any expectations for courtesy and good manners when people go all out for her. She wrote on FB today that the BBQ was ok and thank God for her cousin being there... I suppose she thought it sucked.

    Sometimes I think that maybe I am just sick and too darn hard on my difficult child's and that's the trouble? After all, easy child is doing better with her life and seems to have everyone around her praising her all the way... always has. Things that make me wonder.

    Thank you so much for your support today. It helped a great deal. You're the best!
  7. Doddlin

    Doddlin Guest

    @DaisyFace - You made such good points about "star". WOW! This perspective might be my saving grace. Thank YOU!
    @Trinityroyal - You hit the nail on the head I think. I think husband was afraid after the divorce of losing his kids and became very guilty about everything. He especially indulged easy child because she was his "princess" (her nickname) and was very sensitive about everything. He was a little indulgent with difficult child#3, but was much better at holding him to account when appropriate. When easy child stopped coming to see him (she admits in her words, "I know now that my anger was not my own, but my Mother's anger."), he was crushed of course. It was hard supporting him through that time. He really withdrew from our family, but we worked through it as best we could. I understood it was like a death to him. Now that she is back, he couldn't imagine feeling anything but wonder, excitement and it's an EVENT when she comes to visit. I imagine your theory is RIGHT ON. He is afraid of going through it again.
    @TerryJ2 - EXACTLY what I was thinking. She can't even manage a thank you? What?
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    the disneyland Dad syndrome I guess.

    Indeed. A very common syndrome, unfortunately. I agree with-the others, that you can bow out, tone it down, etc. I don't see why, when she comes into town, you can't just invite her over to dinner like a regular family member. Perhaps if you suggest to your husband that you'd still like to see his daughter, but on a more toned-down level, it would be better for you all.

    In the meantime, our catch-phrase around here is "detach, detach, detach." ;)