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Adult Step-Daughter Problems

Started by GrannyD, August 15, 2009, 04:05:54 am

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August 15, 2009, 04:05:54 am Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 07:38:46 am by GrannyD
(I had already posted this, but I think it was in the wrong place...)
Removed by poster



thank you for sharing your story. I few things stood out for me.

QuoteOne night, she came into our kitchen and started repeating everything she had learned from my daughter-in-law about both of my sons, their marriages, their problems, etc and then said - And you thought I was the bad one.... Told me more and then said again how we should not think she is the bad one. She then told us things about her sister that, although probably true, are things that her older sister would be horrified that we know. Again, she pointed out that we should not think she is the bad one.

A few days later, I advised my DIL to not confide in SD2, as all those secrets had already been passed on. My Big Mistake! That started an email frenzy between the two of them and SD2 calling me and saying 'Explain Yourself'. Now, she said she can't trust me because she 'tried to share her concern for my son and I betrayed her'.

It looks to me that SD2 either seems to want your respect and approval (wanting you to think she is not so bad compared to others) or wants control. I tend to think it is both. I would be very careful around people like that. She most likely goes around and tells things about you. As soon as you detect that a person is just gossiping say directly you have no wish to participate in the discussion. Also stating that it is your principle not to talk about people behind their backs is likely to help. Gossiping about family members to family members and going along with it is a sure way to make a huge mess. I do agree people need someone to confide in and sometimes they do need to vent. But doing it to a family member is unfair as no one in the family is impartial and objective.

On the other hand I do see how she must also feel betrayed. She spoke to you in confidence. Regardless of her motives it could be she did not know any better. You went along with it (let her do that and thereby doing your part in this situation) and that made her think you were a safe person to talk to.

Leave her relationship with her dad/your husband for them to figure out. I know it must have hurt to see your husband take sides with her. However, once you detach yourself and refuse to participate in the problems involved with her, she loses her power over you.

My experience tells me that when we feel overly entangled in something it is a sure sign we need to practice detachment.


GrannyD my heart breaks for you because I have seen this type of problem in my family as well and it has never been rectified.  Have you tried counseling?  Maybe even group counseling with the everyone that is involved in this awful situation.

My mother is currently is same situation with my 37-year old bipolar sister who also has Borderline Personality Disorder and   has an ongoing RX addiction, and is in and out of jail or rehab and is married to meth/cocaine addict who is in and out jail and rehab as well.  My mother has spent her retirement savings and gone without just to keep my sister's irresponsible behavior going.  This has been going on for about 13+ years. My sister lives with my mom when her husband is in jail, rehab or on a drug binge, since he can be violent when he's on a drug binge.  My weak mother has also been know to let sister's husband live with her as well because my sister cried about how he had no where to go.  This is all very scary to me so I do not go over to my mom's house anymore.  I pray for her safety and only see her at her office or we go out to eat and to movie once in awhile.  I live in the same town.  One of my sister's therapist's told her that my mom is something that is called codependent.  It's like my mom wouldn't know what to do with herself or time if she wasn't bailing sister out all the time.  It's like mom is addicted to it or something.  My mom has to feel needed she has always been that way.  My dad left her when we were kids for a   better looking younger woman.  Of course that didn't work out and guess who was by his side when he died from cancer 5 years ago?  You guessed it!  Not only was she by his side but he also moved in with her three months before he passed.  She cooked for him and even wiped his behind when he was too weak to do it himself.  That's how she is she can't let go.  She refuses to make my sister stand on her own because she's says "I gave birth to her."  Which I think is silly because just because you give birth to someone doesn't mean you spend the rest of your life serving them.  Oh and also now she is taking care of her sister who had a stoke.  She goes to her house everyday after mom gets off work to help take care of my aunt.  I think my mom would be depressed if she wasn't caregiving or bailing someone out financially! (Don't get me wrong I'm glad she was there for my dad and my aunt)

It sounds like this it beginning to take a toll on your health.  I would consider maybe reading some books on "tough love" or especially consider seeing a good therapist for some guidance.  You deserve to be happy and respected by your children.  It sounds like they are not giving you  the respect that you deserve.


What a tough situation. I agree that you need an impartial person in your corner, like a good therapist.

If your husband isn't concerned about what this is costing you, personally, he is choosing his daughter over you, isn't he? The dance between them keeps her his "little girl." Then every other week she gets to play "mommy" but it's a game because she doesn't pay rent like "big girls" do.

It's clear by the way you describe your mistakes that you know what led up to the present situation, but I would feel pretty miserable in your shoes if I was over there mowing the lawn and keeping the house for sale tidy without any help from her. The same with the original painting and cleaning. It's disgusting to my way of thinking.

This can't help but be putting a wedge between you and your husband, since he supports it and you don't. I wonder, is that's her goal? To have "daddy" all to herself?

I know the others may not agree with me, but I'm afraid if it were me, I would leave them to each other and look for a saner life.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


August 26, 2009, 07:26:22 pm #4 Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 07:35:21 pm by luise.volta
It ends when you learn a new word..."no."

No one has even moved back in with us because when my they chose to leave home...one to enter the Marine Corps and the other to go to college, I told them they couldn't come back; that they were entering the world of adults and were taking full responsibility for themselves.

We made it clear that we would love to have them visit, but that their childhood was over.

The same was true regarding money. When the borrowed money, there was a verbal contract and interest. We made it possible for them to renegotiate terms if necessary but any loan not repaid in full was the last one. (And that never happened.)

As they matured they both thanked us for trusting them to be able to stand on their own two feet and face the consequences when they fell. And when their kids came along, and of course they are fully gown now with teenagers of their own, they used the same model.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise you are an awesome mom!! It takes backbone to be firm like this with your kids.  You've prepared them for the difficulties of life.

Unfortunately my mom didn't really do that. I'm embarrassed to admit this but my hubby had to teach me how to do laundry after we married.  My mom has a good heart but she wanted and still wants to do EVERYTHING for everyone.  I think she really needs to feel needed.

Its kind of funny but my mom entered a contest to win a new car and she ended up being one of the runner ups and she won a cruise to Carribean for two people.  She's not going to go but is going to give to my sister who lays on the couch all day drugged and can't or won't work because of her Bipolar and personality disorder.  Actually she works when the courts tell her she has to or she's to be thrown in jail.  SHe has spent many a night in the local jail for punishment begging for her Xanax (long story there).  And I guess her meth/cocaine addicted husband will probably go too I assume.  I guess it bothers me because I work an my husband works and we pay our own bills.  We would have liked to had that cruise.  But that's the way my mom is.  She has to take care of my sister in every way and sacrifice for my sister.  And my mom NEVER makes her take responsibility.  But I promise you sister will be plenty awake and drug free when it comes time for her to go on that cruise!  I know because I"ve see this before.  Life and relationships can be so complicated!


  Your mom might just be enabling your sis just a bit, no?  I understand some moms couldn't fathom the idea of "tough love" and I wonder just how much your sister manipulates your mom.
  What a shame.  You sound very well adjusted.  Level headed.  Dream daughter!! :)
Get that big old jar with the words "Wonderful Getaway" on the front and put some $$ in every now and then.
  Get some brochures, maybe a video of the place  and who knows??  Maybe you and hubby will be able to get away somewhere.  Just the two of you.  Hope Hope Hope!!   


Yep, my sister's therapist says that my mom and her are codependents.  My mom and I have gone round and round about his topic. I"ve called her the enabler and everything but I realized that it just didn't matter my mom is going to to what she wants and I have to accept it.  It was difficult for me when she allowed the drug addicted husband to live with her because he had no place to go.  I cried about that one.  Because when he's high he can be violent.  I haven't even set foot in my mom's house in two years.  She used to feed my dog when we would go out of town but I just don't trust her like I need to so we put my dog in a kennel now.  I don't want the drug addicts knowing we're out of town.  That part of my life I've just accepted.  I see my mom at her office for lunch and we go out to eat once in awhile too.  you just accept whatever is thrown your direction I guess.


...and you draw line where one need to be drawn. Good for you!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama