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Do I have to continue to see Adult Stepdaughter? I'm done!

JSD1960's picture

I'm almost 60 years old, been married for 29 years and together with my husband for 31 years.  Stepdaughter was almost 7 when I met them, 9 when we were married and she's 37 years old now with an 8 year old daughter of her own (single mother).  For years, she has had "behavior disorders" as a child, erratic and risky behavior as a teen and young adult, bi-polar diagnosis (supposedly, but also been called personality disorder).  Her childhood was marked by abandonment issues with her bio mother who also had drug problems but has since cleaned up her act. They currently have a relationship which I believe to be stable.   Over 3 decades my SD has had screaming fits toward both of her parents at various times, many I have witnessed though she seldom went at me.  I maintained a middleman status and tried to be a voice of reason many times.  My husband has been depressed or disgusted about her outbursts and I've tried to go along with whatever he wanted in the relationship with his daughter.  The last time she went off on him was in June of 2017 when they were on a road trip that I was not on.  She played the grandchild card with him (you'll never see my child again).  At that point I told my husband I was through with her.  He can have whatever relationship he wants with she and her daughter but I can't stand idly by and watch these blow ups hurt him.  It hurts him tremendously and she brings nothing to me but toxicity.  There is virtually no pleasure in this relationship for me.  There were no words exchanged between she and I at all.  I simply stayed out of it. After well over a year she called and apologized to her father and they have seen each other 3x in 2.5 years.  He now claims she wants to come over for Christmas, keeping in mind she and I have had zero communcation this whole time.  I find it just too awkward, I feel completely done, and I don't want to participate.  I have told my husband again, he is free to have any and all relationship with SD and granddaughter.  I just do not have any affectionate feelings for her at all and can't fake it.  Is it best to continue staying out of it at this point?  I do not like her, and I don't want a negative effect from me to be seen by her daughter.  What is advised in a situation like this?  PS--if SD cared about me at all, she would have wondered why I've been completely vacant.  Again, I have not seen her, nor have I blocked her or avoided a contact by her.  She has been as vapid as I have.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Your home should be your sanctuary, a place of peace and comfort. But all too often around the holidays, people want that family feeling and try to sweep issues under the rug so that everyone can be in the same room. This is why first responders HATE working on holidays - they see first hand what happens when dysfunction boils over because people with unresoved issues get together.

It's hard to say whether it's your DH or his daughter who's behind this, but it's still an attempt to test your boundaries. I think I'd tell my DH that you don't feel comfortable having his troubled daughter in your home; that holidays put a lot of pressure on everyone and it's not a good idea; and that things are good as they are. Close with the meaningless offer that if his adult daughter wants to "work on her relationship with you", she has multiple ways to contact you and can do so in the New Year. That puts the ball in her court.

JSD1960's picture

Thank you for your comprehensive answer. All the comments bring me some level of comfort. As stepparents we go through such a seesaw is emotions not the least of which is guilt. But there comes a point where this is no longer necessary. I also feel like I am now holding my SD to a higher standard as she is a parent herself. The child has two other sets of loving and involved grandparents as well. So it helps to have others help me release myself from further guilt and frustration. In some way I want to help my husband stop being hurt by her. It will happen again.

JSD1960's picture

He said he didn't want to go over there. I think he wants me as a buffer so he can maintain his relationship with the grandchild. But I am just over it. I told him to go over there on Christmas if he wanted.

Goodluck's picture

No, you are not obligated, morally,  to have relationship. 

As far as adult kid pulling grandchild card, next time she tells husband that garbage he should say ok, guess I won't see them anymore. 

Stop catering to her from this day forward. And guard your home..it's yours to find comfort and peace in.

 

tog redux's picture

Yes, stay out of it. If you have to see her, just be civil and distant. Sounds like she doesn't even notice anyway, sadly.

Let your DH figure out what kind of relationship he wants with his daughter.

JSD1960's picture

You are absolutely right. It's sad that she is not noticing or doesn't want to "deal with me" because deep down she knows my break happened after her extreme rage which she did in front of her little daughter and my 84 year old mother in law. I'm glad I wasn't there to see it in person. You can't fix crazy.

shamds's picture

I have not seen or heard from skids (sd’s) since over a year ago. No visits or communication whatsoever and they have mainly ignored hubby.

barely a month ago sd24 called hubby to tell him he owed their mum the home she lives in rent free with her sister who is 14 (hubby bought this home after the divorce was finalised and home is owned solely by hubby), sd said that their mum wants this home to be transferred into her, her sister and brothers names only. 

Me or my 2 kids (hubbys bios too) are to be excluded. She is actively disingeriting us from property that hubby feels as veing owned solely by him means our kids have just as much right to that home.

hubby told her off and she played the whole fake crocodile tears that their mum had abandoned them for almost a year (hang on barely 4 months ago you spent holidays with your mum and stepdad because they banned you from seeing your bio dad and your mum just contacted you to make sure daddy cut your stepmum and half siblings out of his estate??)

so she faked the tears and a week later meets hubby for lunch for a fake apology and that she is truly sorry (yawn!!)  and hubby told me “well she apologized so you should give her a chance” i told hubby he was bonkers and could go to hell. That I don’t have to tolerate shot from her. That when they are this level of crazy, rude, disrespectful etc that its very easy to lose interest and hubby just needs to keep his toxic demonspawn away from me and kids

i reminded hubby just after what sd’s tried to pull few weeks ago disinheriting us and try their attempt at making us homeless, that at supposed meetup they will fake niceties and how much they missed their half sister and half brother when they were so focussed on getting rid of all of us, yeah i’m not dumb to tolerate this crazy shit...

stand your ground firmly and never cave in!!!

you should never be expected or told to basically be a doormat for skids while they decide whether they want to be respectful and civil or not. History has shown she has no intention so you owe her nothing. You have every right to not be around her or have her in your home and hubby must respect that.

JSD1960's picture

Wow, sorry for the boat you're in as well. I appreciate your story and comments. It has occurred to me that she may be rebuilding a bridge for the inevitable - just in case she needs something ($). Eye roll. Daddy guilt.  Our bio son who is 20 and in college is my number one priority.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Continue to stay out of it at all costs.  Disengage - read up about tactics for doing so on the "Disengagement" forum here on ST.   It's good to realize you are "done" and all you need to do now is practice the methods for maintaining that position. 

If your DH chooses to have a relationship of any sort with his daughter and g/daughter that is up to him.   However I would tell him that he needs to find a place to see her because it won't be in your home. 

Like most skids, she could care less about you and that's why you've never heard from her.  As far as she is concerned you are invisible and irrelevant.  So don't wast a minute of your time on her or trying to accommodate her nor should you feel any kind of guilt or reason to engage with her, even for your DH's sake.  Let him fight the battles with her.   And you certainly don't need to play hostess-with-the-mostest by turning your HOME into a comfortable stage for her dramatics.  

Does SD have a relationship with her half-brother, your DS?  Or did she cut him off for 2.5 years too?  That speaks volumes about her character, if she did.

While it is hard to watch your DH get verbally abused remember that he is an adult and has the capacity to shut that crap down immediately.  Like many guilty dads, he probably won't ever do it because even a scrap of affection from his daughter is worth it to him.   That's his choice even though it makes no sense to anyone observing it.  

I think he should meet SD at a restaurant where she cannot pull one of her screaming stunts.  Then he doesn't worry about having someone (like you or DS) get the unwelcome job to be the buffer.   

HowBoutScottyDont's picture

I would continue to support your DH and say very little about SD, but make it clear that you are uncomfortable with her in your own home. They can spend time together elsewhere.

It is much, much easier to look past your own bio child's mistakes. But SD is not your child; no one should blame you for respectfully keeping your distance.

If you get pressured, I would remind yoru DH that this is a matter of your own mental health being at risk should you be subjected to SD. And I think that's actually true.