(Closed) I need help putting step daughter problems behind me

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 46
Member
3029 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

thebluecat :  I am so, so glad you never grew up with people who have personality disorders in your life. As someone who has several in my family (and the SD in question sounds like she would fit in perfectly among them, like the second coming of my mom), I strongly believe that some people are born rotten, and no amount of love, understanding, and support can change them into empathetic, pro-social, law-abiding citizens. They will lie, cheat, steal, gaslight, emotionally manipulate, threaten you and those you love, hurt people and pets and sometimes even themselves while screaming that it’s your fault, whatever it takes to get their way. You can try to set boundaries, but these usually don’t work because they feel entitled to everyone’s time, effort, and resources.

I lived the nightmare of having three relatives like this in my life for 24 years, believing if I only expressed my love better, was there for them more often, gave better gifts, and never expressed a negative emotion or dissenting opinion (I’m a Stepford smiler and people pleaser because of this), the aforementioned abuse would stop, but it never did. What made me decide that enough was enough was when they tried to extend their abuse to my Fiance. I couldn’t let that happen. 

This is not about withholding love and trying to punish a “difficult teenager”. There is a difference between a difficult teenager who starts developmentally normal arguments and gets into trouble by being impulsive and exercising poor judgment (all of which will pass) and a sociopath who seeks to control you and will never care about or respect anyone other than herself (which will never pass).

I didn’t cut off contact with my family members to hurt them, and when I hear from people who only see the superficial pretend nice-nice faces that they show to the public saying that the people I’ve cut out are “sad” because of me, it makes me feel sad and a little guilty too. I’m sure OP feels similarly, because that’s how normal people react to being driven to sever what should be natural family bonds. But in my case and many others on this board who have exhausted all other options, this can sometimes be the only way to survive. 

Okay, I’m done pontificating. I’m glad you have a normal, loving family with no Axis II psychological disorders. I wish I did too, and I’m sure OP does as well. Give your relatives hugs for me? <3 

 

Post # 48
Member
2777 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

olives3 :  sorry, I forgot to mention the book is fiction but deals with a blended family and its troubles due to some pretty similar circumstances as the ones you describe!

Post # 49
Member
159 posts
Blushing bee

is_a_belle :   You are right I never had to face that in my life. But I work with people with mental health problems and what I really hate is when people just cut off the sick people like they are worthless. If the SD has actual mental health problems that is even worse on OP. WHY has no one took this girl to get her some help? Especially since OP said that the girl has always been troubled? OP places all the blame on the daughter and the mother. What about the dad? He played no part in it? 

And I would NEVER cut off my own child because they have mental health problems! I would always pace my children above me and my husband. I would do anything to help them. And if my husband wanted to just cut her off from his life I would be like “this is my child! You should care about it’  

Its a fucked up situation but lets not act like the girl was born bad and OP and her husband are not to blame at all.

And most importantly she is 22!! She is immature and crazy. But she is still so young. Why are ppl crossing her off so early in her life? Her own family? 

 

And it is clear that OP doesn’t love her SD. If you don’t love your SD after being in her life since she was 6yo then OP obviously did something wrong. And no. I don’t believe SD is inherently bad person that was not deserving of love when she was growing up. 

Post # 50
Member
213 posts
Helper bee

 

is_a_belle :  I’m sorry there is so much damage in your family. I don’t think you are wrong to end relationships you find too hurtful. You are clearly very angry about it. However, not everyone with a ‘personality disorder’ is a ‘sociopath’.  Personality disorders develop in people because of the insecure and damaging environments they grow up in. I think it is incredibly rare if not non-existent for a person to be ‘born rotten’. A person deemed to have a personality disorder has generally experienced the world as not caring about or respecting them. This is likely to be how the person feels about themselves at a fundamental level too, rather than ‘only caring about and respecting themselves’. This may not be apparent from their behaviour because they have had to learn to survive in a hostile world. Not showing vulnerability is a survival mechanism. The childhood OP’s stepdaughter had is totally different to the childhood her own children had. I hope she is one day able to get and accept the help she needs.

Post # 51
Member
916 posts
Busy bee

Frankly, I don’t agree with many of the comments on this page. But hey, that’s what it’s here for. To add a variety of different outlook and advice. In terms of unconditional love, I honestly hate when people bring that up, in any regards (other than biological children, because you are wired to love them unconditionally. It’s not a choice, it’s instinct and evolution and a variety of other things). When anyone even mentions unconditional love, I give them huge side eye. Unconditional love is not a thing, and more so it SHOULDNT be a thing. There is no instance in which you should love someone unconditionally. Because love DOES have conditions. Do not beat me, or I will take back my love. Cheat on me, I will take back my love. Emotional abuse me, I will take it back. Hurt my children, I will take it back. Hurt my family or loves ones, kiss it good bye. Oh, you’re doing cocain now and will not accept help? Good bye. No one should love unconditionally, because to do so would be throwing all logic out the window. So that’s my view point. If this girl was biologically your child, you would love her that way. Only because that is forced in us (example:mothers who still love and help their child that is a murder or rapist). It was evolutionarily positive to love our child to such extremes, so they would live and reproduce as well, and it’s very hard to shake that. 

 

But she is not your biological child, so you cannot even force that love if you wanted to. And in today’s day and age, any form of that love I find unwelcome. At this point, given what you’ve said, I’d be thinking about the negligence and environment this baby will be in and questioning if she’s even fit to be a mother. I do not agree with individuals that say a baby should always be with their mother. That is such a basic mindset and is the reason we have so many innocent children being raised by drugged moms. I’d be questioning (if the fathers dad wants nothing to do with this situation) if you should gets the rights of that child. Because this girl as abusive, and until she gets help, she is not fit to raise someone.

Post # 52
Member
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

thebluecat :  I doubt that OP is “cutting her off like she’s worthless”. Clearly the SD has issues that are above and beyond anything OP can do to correct them. At some point you have to do what is best for you which means that sometimes you remove toxic people from your life. 

It is entirely possible that an opportunity was missed to provide the help SD needed when she was younger but that responsibility does not fall on the step mom. That is not her child! She has children of her own to worry about and even if it was her own biological child, I would feel the same way. Unconditional love does not mean you show up to be abused for years on end. Unconditional love does not mean you jeopardize the physical and mental safety of everyone else in the family. And it certainly does not mean putting the needs of a grown adult daughter over those of your spouse. 

The SD is a grown woman. It is up to her to get the help she needs and it is up to her to take care of her baby and if she needs support in those endeavors, it is up to her mother and father to be there, not the stepmom. From what I gather, this girl is in need of expert help, not much more anyone else can do for her. 

Post # 53
Member
2958 posts
Sugar bee

The OP’s husband seems from the account given to have been remarkably passive.  He could have intervened at a much earlier stage.  He could have fought for joint custody or sole custody of his children if he felt they were at risk.  He could have also insisted that his young daughter be referred to a psychologist/psychiatrist.  He could have made sure that any disciplining for bad behaviour came from him rather than his new wife.  That way he would have avoided painting her, the OP, as the bad guy.  It seems that he needs to take some responsibility here.  He needs to talk to his daughter about the baby shower and how the OP feels.  He needs to ask his daughter what she would like to happen.  He maybe even need to apologize to his daughter.

I think that this needs to happen before the OP makes her decision on what to do next.

OP, I don’t detect any sort of liking for the girl, never mind love.  Is there anything you like or admire about her?  Does she have any talents? Has she ever surprised you by doing something a little kinder or more generous than usual? Has she ever been brave?  What was her favourite colour/book/place/weather/TV-show as a child? What was the thing she most liked to do when she visited you? In what way was she vulnerable?  What was her favourite style of music?  Did she have any childhood friends?  Do you have photos of her when she visited every summer?  Did you ever tell her that you missed her?

I know that she must have been very difficult and quite possibly impossible but you must remember something.

 

 

 

Post # 54
Member
3029 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

thebluecat : First of all, thank you for what you do. It’s a tough job! I’m glad you have the training and the nerves of steel to do it. <3 

I was thinking while I was writing this that my mom and Dad’s brothers are from the older generation (thankfully, none of their kids or I grew up to be like them, but we’re all a little broken). I imagine it would be a different dynamic if it was a stepdaughter, but I don’t know for sure. 

But… it’s really important to understand that the people who just can’t deal with your clients’ constant abuses aren’t throwing them away like trash. We’re just trying to protect ourselves and other family mombers in the only way we can after all other means to modify their behavior fail (and yes, that included therapy for everyone in our family… curious to know if SD got therapy too, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did and it did no good). 

 

Post # 55
Member
3029 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

coolwater17 : This is interesting and it gives me a lot to think about re: their inner motives. So it isn’t necessarily the environment itself but the person’s perception of the environment combined with the perception of self? 

Post # 56
Member
213 posts
Helper bee

is_a_belle :  well yes, except it’s the environment in early childhood primarily, where a child has little sense of self or awareness of their own perception vs reality. The child grows up in an environment that teaches it ‘you are bad’ and probably ‘other people will hurt you, particularly those you are most reliant on’. Hence the volatility in relationships. And hence the term ‘personality’ disorder. It is essentially being in an invalidating, unstable or traumatising environment while your personality is being formed. Very difficult to undo, but definitely not beyond hope or help.

Post # 57
Member
213 posts
Helper bee

is_a_belle :  of course, this is talking in general terms. I obviously don’t know the specifics of your family or OP’s step daughter

The topic ‘I need help putting step daughter problems behind me’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors