Update of a bone-weary step-parent

Well, I guess she finally came home. Of course, I was at work. Only my husband (her father) was home. He does not deal well in "disappointing" or "upsetting" his children. However, due to some recent events, I told him that he could have the discussion with her about her theft and the need for her to never be at our house without one of us present. (He recently spoke with his ex - the mother - who told him that difficult one was moving in with a friend in town, so we didn't need to "kick her out" and that it would be best if we just told her that she could only be at our house when we were present). Of course, he took the ex's advice and just flat out me that this was the way it was going to be. No discussion. Just another unilateral decision made by him about what was going to happen in our home because this concerned his daughter. Not mine. Never mind that these decisions have a real impact upon my life.

He texted me a cryptic message that "it really isn't fun here". No doubt. When I called and asked what was going on, he is short with me and indicates that the difficult one is upset because she went upstairs into the room she was using and saw that her clothes and personal items had been placed in boxes. He told me that he was in the process of dealing with his daughter and phone calls from his ex, and now me. He "didn't like being in the middle of this vicious triangle". Okay. What does this mean? I told him I would simply bow out of the difficulty and he could deal with it as he will. But also that, if difficult one is upset because her things are packed, she could discuss it with me as I was the one who packed her belongings. Mostly due to the fact that while dad was home before, she was downstairs packing up MY belongings to take with her when she moved out. Now she's upset because I made sure she wasn't packing any of MY belongings again? (The room she was occupying has a cubby compartment which contains several totes with my belongings).

Sorry to say, but I think this may be the end of my patience in this regard. I love my husband, but he has got to stop waffling when it comes to this. I can't live in a house in which 1) I can't trust that my personal belongings are safe; 2) where I feel that my needs are being overlooked in favor of someone who doesn't deserve it; 3) where I feel that that I have no say in what is happening inside or who gets to live with us.

I am at work, upset and frustrated, and feeling as if my world is crashing down around me. Depending upon what I find when I get home, I may have a choice to make that I just don't want to deal with. I'm afraid that I am making this decision solely upon emotion and not based upon solid reason. Am I jealous of my husband's relationship with his daughter? Am I being too hard? Am I wrong to feel that he is listening more to what his ex would like him to do rather than what I feel needs to be done?

I am just so afraid.


Well-Known Member
I'm afraid that I am making this decision solely upon emotion and not based upon solid reason. Am I jealous of my husband's relationship with his daughter? Am I being too hard?
Well goodness, it is certainly understandable that you would be really emotional, your husband is being a kitty-Kat for letting her com back. He is definitely not willing to say no to her. Maybe he just can't. which leaves you feeling hurt and angry. I would be too. I think you are the ONLY one making any sense in this situation. I don't think you are jealous, I think you know what the daughter does is wrong and you are flabbergasted that others can't see it too. Read my recent post on my sociopath daughter (not that I am saying his Difficult Child daughter is one) but how sometimes all you can do is to save yourself.


one day at a time
Have you and your husband gone to counseling? Would he go? Perhaps some outside perspective would help. I just reread your signature and saw that she is 21. Even a easy child under the same roof at that age isn't a good scenario---it's my view that our adult children don't need to be living with us at all.

Anyway, I digress. I completely get what you are saying. You must have a say-so in your own home about what goes on there.

I also am sure he is struggling with it all and does feel like he is in a triangle...unfortunately, you're the one who gets the brunt of his angst.

I do know this: addiction affects everybody in the family. Nobody gets away from it. So you both have been caught up in his family disease, and you are both suffering because of it.

I would hate to see you and he turn on each other, instead of finding a way to get help to navigate through this.

It is a blessing that she is going to be living somewhere else, at least for now.

Would he be willing to read this forum? Go to an Al-Anon meeting? Take in some new information.

If he won't, I hope you will.

Warm hugs tonight. I wish I had some good answers. Just please know we are here for you and with you. You're not alone.


Well-Known Member
If you fear for you safety, I would temporarily move out to a safe place and you two can work on your relationship in therapy. But if you feel threatened by this woman, don't hesitate to leave until/unless he makes her go.

I would be really upset if my hubby had an ex-wife and was listening to her more than me, even if it was about a shared adult child. He doesn't live with his ex. He lives with you and your needs are important.

Hugs and good luck!


Well-Known Member
I completely understand how it feels to have divided loyalties, and to doubt your emotions and decisions.
I'm so sorry for what you are going through.
When you say that you are afraid, is it because she was stealing your clothes, or that you may have to choose one over the other? Or did I miss something? Either way, I'm sending hugs.
Wish I could be more help.
Well, she wasn't at the house when I returned home from work, so that was a relief. I know my husband had a difficult day with all the drama. From what he told me, she was first upset when he told her that the locks had been changed on the house and she could no longer enter it when we were not home. After that, he said she did calm down some, but when she went upstairs to discover that her clothes, belongings had been packed away, she started throwing a fit. She emptied some of the boxes of clothes I had packed up for her onto the floor, she broke a few of her own belongings, she spread garbage on the floor. That's just what I could see from a quick look. My husband said she threatened to cut her wrists or to move to the Cities to sell heroin so she could make some money, among other things. She screamed at him how she hates me and never wants to see me again (I guess I'm the bad guy that she can blame, but I really don't care anymore). She also reportedly said she hated her sister, her mother, her father. You know, everyone who has ever been there to support her. She also reportedly called her mother several times to complain about what was going on. What she thought her mother could do is beyond me, although her mother has, as I've mentioned before, tried to intervene in what happens in our own home.

It was a surprise, however, to learn that the ex called my husband prior to the difficult one showing up to ask him to try to get in touch with the difficult one as she (the ex) had received a call/text from difficult one indicating she was walking down the road and was freezing (below freezing temps in our neck of the woods). My husband said he tried several times to contact difficult one without success, so it was a complete surprise when she entered the house shortly afterward, wanting to shower and get ready to go to town to "put in job applications".

In discussing the events with my husband, I told him that his daughter has a very strong will to survive and that her threats to commit suicide are just that, threats. Hopefully I am correct. Whether or not she will return to dealing drugs - who knows? Maybe. But that will be her choice. And maybe, just maybe, if she does that and gets caught, she might come to realize the error of her ways and grow up a bit.

Terry, when I indicated I was afraid, it is not that I am physically afraid of the difficult one, or that she will steal more of my personal belongings, I am more afraid about what havoc she will create in my marriage to her father and that she will end up destroying the loving relationship I have with him. I am also afraid that if he continues to support/enable her, it will end up destroying him. There are so many intangibles at play in these types of situations and it is hard to feel that much of the outcome is out of your control.

But I am feeling a bit of relief that the initial phase of letting her know her actions are unacceptable have begun. Now to sit back and watch how it will all play out. I am somewhat concerned with how the different cast members of this macabre play will act in the coming days and what type of manipulations they will attempt....


Well-Known Member
Thank you for clarifying that, Frustrated. I hear you! What a mess she has made. She is not well.
I am so sorry.
You are doing amazingly well and clearly have a much better ability to detach than your husband does.
I hope that he can attend some NAMI classes with you, or go to therapy.
Sounds like her ex still cares about her and is caught up in the drama, as well.
You are stronger than you know.
Thanks Terry - I sure hope that as time goes on, my husband will be better able to cope with this struggle. He is resistant to counseling, but I think I am wearing him down. I have showed him this site and am in the process of getting it to be easily accessible on the computer for him so he can seek some advice from all of you fine folks. You all have given me outstanding support in this time of unrest, and have given me several important things to think about as we muddle our way through this mess not of our own making... Thanks ever so much!!!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
There's nothing like a Difficult Child to bring out the best in a marriage;)

My husband and I had some real tough times when we were dealing with our Difficult Child. My husband who is the adoptive parent was always willing to give Difficult Child another chance while me the birth mother was fed up!! There were so many times we just did not see eye to eye on how to deal with Difficult Child.
I am so grateful that we managed to get through those most difficult years and to be quite honest, it has made our marriage stronger.
That is my hope for you, that you and your husband will weather this storm and learn from it. You will become better equipped for when the next storm hits.