I really just need to vent. I'm not sure if I'm asking a question or what. I just need to write down my feelings and maybe get some different perspectives on the situation.
My stepdaughter is 28 years old. We live in Atlanta and she lives in the L.A. area. She has a 7 year old son and my husband and I have a 9 year old daughter. StepD has never lived on her own. She has always lived with her mother (except for one 8 month period when she lived with us when she was 19.)
The fact of the matter is that I dislike her. I've tried liking her, I really have. I have tried giving her support when she was here and I have often times been on her side if her and her father were arguing about something. I've always wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. The fact of the matter is that it never turns out for the better. She always messes things up. She makes the worst decision in any given situation every single time.
I can give you a few examples just so you know what I'm talking about. She has been fired for stealing from her employer. She stole from us while she was here. She lies when it is easier to tell the truth (a compulsive liar.) She has had several abortions because she can't be bothered with birth control. She hid her pregnancy from everyone and suddenly went into labor. She was 21 at the time, not a teenager. She spends all her money on trivial stuff like cruises and concerts and then can't afford the necessities. Her credit is horrible. (I posted on here a while back about her wanting her father to co-sign on a car.) She has bad hygenine, she doesn't shower regularly. When she lived here she lived like a pig, never did any housework or cleaned up after herself and according to her mother she is still like that.
The worst part for me isn't all of that stuff, I can forgive bad behaviors and I totally believe in second, third, and fourth chances, but the fact that she doesn't seem to be able to connect with anyone in an authentic way. She is very disconnected emotionally. I'm sure that is because her mother is that way too.
She is a smart girl. We have many interests in common like reading non-fiction and we like the same tv shows. Yet, I cannot connect with her on a human level. I don't know exactly how to describe it. She isn't like anyone I've ever come into contact with. It isn't just me either, she doesn't connect with anyone ever at all, even her own child. Everything is just superficial. With her, nothing is real, it is all a facade. If she is saying one thing, you are always wondering what it is really about and you don't find out until much later but you always find out that she was saying one thing when it really meant something different. She's manipulative but she won't just say what she needs, she trys to get what she wants by manipulation rather than just coming out and asking for it.
For the first few years (dh and I have been married for 11 years,) I thought that eventually things would change. That she would grow up, that I could see something human in her. But, it has only gotten more apparent as the years go by that she just isn't capable of a true relationship with anyone at all. She's never even had a long-term boyfriend. So I did what I said that I'd never do and I gave up. Now I feel my mind and my heart going in the opposite direction. I don't want her contaminating my family. I don't want her around.
I have enjoyed the fact that she lives all the way accross the country so that her interference in our lives is a minimum.
Suddenly last week she annouced to dh that she was moving here to the Atlanta area. She wants to find a job here, get her own apartment, start a new life. All that sounds wonderful doesn't it? She will be closer to dh and to her 1/2 sister, rent is cheaper here than in L.A. so she'll finally be able to get out on her own and out from under her mother. It sounds just wonderful. I want to be supportive but if history is the best predictor of future behavior then I am afraid, I am very afraid.
She never earned anything more than low wages. How will she afford to live on her own? She can't, especially with her poor budgeting skills and her lack of credit (how can you rent an apartment with horrible credit?) So she will end up living with us and now it isn't just her but her and her son. She'll tell us that it is tempoary but it won't be. She'll reek havoc in our peaceful lives and suck us dry financially. This is what I am afraid of.
I have flat out told dh that I don't want her living here. He agrees but he can't tell her no if she asks (which she hasn't yet.) I understand that he can't tell her no. No parent wants to deny their child a place to live. If it were my daughter I'm sure that I would feel the same way!
And I do wonder why she has suddenly decided to move here. I ask dh to ask her and she said because she is depressed and moving here will mean freedom. I asked him to ask her what that meant and she said something equally as elusive. She has probably had a big fight with her mother. She has probably gotten in trouble for stealing or something. I know that there is something more behind this decision but I have no way of knowing what it is. When she lived here before she said that she hated it, that there was nothing to do here, L.A. is where there is something always going on, where you can have fun and here it is just boring.
If what she says is true, if she is being honest then I have no problem with any of it. I'm just afraid of the real truth, because with her things are never what they seem.
So, on the one hand I feel like I am being ridiculous, like I am worried about something that hasn't even happened yet. On the other hand every red flag is going off in my heart and soul that says this is bad news for my family.
When you married your husband, you inherited a stepdaughter. A package deal, so to speak. There's not much you can do about it.
If you put up too much resistance to the situation, stepdaughter is going to drive a wedge between you and husband. That's probably the worst thing that could happen. Try to stay united with your husband in how you deal with her. He may be willing to abide by certain "rules" for how you treat her, or how you respond to certain behavior from her, especially if it's framed as being in her best interests.
I've been in your shoes. My boyfriend of 3.5 years has one daughter who is trouble all of the time. Drugs. Abortions (rather than birth control). Manipulation. Jail. Abusive husband(s) and boyfriends. Constantly lying. Unemployed because she is too lazy too work or job search. And guess who she comes running to whenever she needs something (usually money)? Yep, Daddy.
I realize she is is flesh and blood, but I told him upon moving in with him that I am not OK with her living with us, because I can't have someone who uses drugs and has anger issues around my young daughter.
My boyfriend has since set boundaries with her. He still gives her money, (which is upsetting because he then complains about his own finances) but the good news is that he won't allow her to live with us.
I think your husband has to respect you and your daughter, and not allow the step daughter to impose or interfere too much. Its a touchy, fine line, but its one that your husband has to find and stand by.
I'm a step, also, and can see your point clearly. Raising someone else's kids is tough, especially if you are relegated to an outsider's role.
In this case, I disagree with the person who said it's a package deal. We have the right, I feel, to expect that at the point a child is an adult and has a child of their own that barring a major crisis (severe illness, house fire, something like that) that they will not be coming to live with us. You do have to accept that this is your husband's child but you don't have to roll over and allow her to steamroll you and move in with you or suck you dry financially.
She sounds like an extremely selfish individual who will use you as long as you let her. Perhaps she has worn out her welcome with her mom and wants to see how long she can work you guys over.
In my opinion, the mark of good parenting is that when a child becomes an adult that they have the tools to be self-sufficient. I do believe if the child opts to go to college that it stretches the parental responsibility by a few more years. But there is a point where you cut the umbilical cord. Co-sign a loan for them if they need help with their credit and you can trust them to pay the loan payment but don't buy them a car, so to speak. One is helping, one is enabling. If you husband wants to help, great. If he wants to enable, not great.
Is there anyway to just call it like you see it here? What I mean is, you know at the very least that she will be comming to your house when she arrives until she finds a job, gets and apartment, etc. So is there any way you can tell her that before she comes to stay with you, she needs to have say, 2,000 dollars saved as well as some job interviews lined up. I would put it right out there that while you and her father are ok with her moving by you, that she will not be living with you. I would let her know that the arrangement should be very temperary. If possible, you could even tell her that she needs to have a place lined up as well. If she is playing games, she may think twice about comming to stay with you if she gets the feeling that she isn't welcome to stay forever and ever. And this way, your husband doesn't have to tell his daughter no, he is just seting bounderies before it happens. Other then that, I got nothin! What a tough situation. I dont know if I could be polite about it and I certainly wouldnt want this example around my child. If it's really that bad, this will rub off on your child. Good luck.
Thanks for your replies. I feel better about it today. Dh and I had a long talk last night. I still fear that she'll end up living with us or we will end up paying her rent. He doesn't want her living with us either but is optimistic about her starting a new life. I'm trying to be optimistic but it is difficult.
She says that she is saving her money and that she may be able to come up with 2-3K before she gets here. She wants to leave on July 1.
Dh finally talked to her mother today. I haven't had a chance to talk to him to find out what she said but he did find out that she knew nothing about her daughter's plans to move. He spilled the beans without knowing that it was a secret. The mother lost her job a month ago and is living off of unemployment. We didn't know that until today. StepD said that her mother has been "terrorizing" her and her son (whatever that means) because she has nothing to do but rant and rave all day.
I do feel sorry for StepD, she didn't have a fair chance in childhood and her mother is a true nut. But, she is grown now and it is time to take responsibility, stop lying, stealing, and manipulating people.
As for me talking to her I can only communicate with her via dh. She is still mad at me for not co-signing on the car note.
I agree with Mel - lay out the ground rules. Can you get your DH to write a letter (you should draft it together) setting out what the rules are, what you expect, and outlining that you feel she should think long and hard about it before she uproots her son and makes a life-changing decision. Maybe you can find a way to not sound discouraging yet let her know that there are big things to consider before she makes a move - including recalling how unhappy she was with the area and what she will be giving up by moving, and how hard it will be to just move back if she doesn't like it.
I feel for you - NOT an easy situation!!! And not a good example to provide to your young daughter. I'll keep you in my thoughts.
I would imagine that her mother is probably telling her to contribute some income to the household since she's living on unemployment! That surely counts as terrorism to your step-D.
It sounds like your step-daughter is a sociopath/psychopath; what do you think? There are a lot of books out there on the subject now, a lot of information about these people and how to recognize them and protect yourself from them.
One thing to know is that they will not change, and you need to be very careful, because they are MASTER manipulators and couldn't care less if they ruin you (financially or otherwise.) You will need to be very very strong to protect your family's finances and your child.
What is going to happen if your step daughter moves in with you, never pays a penny in rent, never lifts a finger to clean up, and then refuses to move out, ever? Until years down the line your husband kicks her out, at which point she decides to seek revenge? (Violence?) That is the worst-case scenerio. Maybe nothing like that will happen, but with sociopaths, anything is possible.
I know someone people a bit like that. They are always "looking for a job", but when you pin them down and ask where they've applied, they give you a blank stare. Or, they have some awesome idea for a new business, but no money or investors to get things started. So they figure that since they SAY they're "looking" for a job or they have an idea for a business, that's all they have to do. And someone else should foot the bills, because it's not their fault no one's hired them yet or their business hasn't actually gotten going yet. And you're an a-hole if you try to say or do anything about their joblessness, because, after all, they're looking for a job! These people will bleed you dry, then actually have the nerve to get angry if you refuse to pay their way anymore! You are "selfish" and "cheap"!
for your sake, I hope things don't turn out that way. I recommend giving a deadline, such as 3 months, for her to find some way to get her own place. Of course, once she's IN your place it may prove very difficult to get her out, as she may play the "but I have nowhere to go!!!!" routine.
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." - Erica Jong
Oh wow. Be very careful. This story sounds oh-too familiar. I dated this guy in the past and his ex sounds just like person you describe. She is a grown 28 year old woman. Her ways are quite set. She has no plans of changing them. I would try to keep her far far FAR away from you and your family. Once she stays, it would be hard to kick her out. This woman is used to living off of people. Why should she get her own place and keep a real job when most of her life she has been leeching off of her mom?
I also dated a guy that was like this. He stayed unemployed for a whole year. My stupid self stayed with him thru that whole entire time. I remember fussing with him and he would use the "well its not my fault people arent hiring." Looking for a job itself IS A JOB. You wake up and you stay on top of it. You may have to settle for less paying jobs until the job you want becomes available. Yes my ex did look but he spent the majority of his time hanging out with other unemployed people playing pool!
They are so sickening and pathetic! They will take and take and take! They will never stop unless you put your foot down and tell them NO. I would be very careful with this woman!
I hope for your sake that your SD does not move in with your family. I would not allow it, your situation sounds like a disaster waiting to happen if it does move in.
My husbands children are all adults in age but most are still 12 mentally.
I do not think it is a package deal either, especially when kids are "grown".
I am sick of sk's thinking me and their dad is their personal bank. We should be able to live life without constant (usually stupid) interruptions and worries from his offspring.
Right now I am very bitter and would not allow any of his kids to live with us--liars will always be liars--and losers will always be losers, especially if they are continually enabled to continue bad, self-destructive behavior.
SickofPain says it all... I absolutely agree. How do you expect them to change or do anything different when they are ENABLED?! It may not come to this point, but if it does... make sure you tell your husband NOT TO BE AN ENABLER!
I do not think it is a package deal either, especially when kids are "grown".
It's not a package deal in that the adult child has to live with you; it's a package deal in that the "stupid interruptions" from his "offspring" are going to happen no matter what. That's what you signed up for. He cannot suddenly act like his children do not exist, just for your sake. Is that what he promised to do when you got into this relationship? Sorry, it's a package deal.