Stepdaughter has unusual feelings for her father
02/22/2010 at 13:34 PM

My sixteen and a half year old stepdaughter moved in with us 2 1/2 years ago. After moving in, we started catching her in lies and manipulative behavior. We tried counseling and nothing worked. We battled with this. About four months ago, my husband finally listened to me about the possibility that his daughter had unnatural feelings for him. He confronted her and she admitted that she was in love with him. She further told me that she wanted to have sex with her father and was doing everything she could to get me and her brother out of the house so she could have her father in this sick way. We put her into therapy and ended up having to have her committed to a inpatient hospital for five days due to threats against the family and her running away. Since that time, my husband hasnt been alone with her and he doesnt hug her. I am very uncomfortable and I am having a hard time moving past everything she has said and done. Now the therapist is saying that my husband should start hugging her and start being alone with her. I dont think I can handle those things right now. If anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreaciate it. I just dont want to lose my marriage. My husband has been my best friend for 18 years.

Get a new counselor. The one you had didnt work out as well as it should have. It should be a man so that she can develop a positive relationship with a male that has clear boundaries for her to follow.


I agree with lifeline ain't no telling with this girl is capable of.And you really really need a new therapist.What all have you did to get help for this situation of yours? Have you asked her why she has these strange feelings for her father? Have you asked her anything that can possibly give you sum clues to why she feels like that. And I say get down on your knees and pray to god about this and tell the devil to get out your house and leave your family alone baby cause there isn't a sitution that's too big for God. Do she have any friends that she hang out with or anything?



I have prayed to God about all this. I have asked her why she feels this way. She says it is because he makes he feel good and happy. Really everything she says makes her feel this way is how a father acts with his children. My husband has never given her the impression that he would ever feel that way towards her. We have had her in counseling since 4 months after she moved in. She is capable of anything. Last March, she had her and her brother taken by the Department of Family and Children Services because she claimed we beat her and she even put a bruise on her leg to try to convince everyone. DFCS only took them for 72 hours but it was Hell for me and my husband. DFCS found no abuse in our home. We have tried to get help from them and the juvenile justice center and noone can really help. She has friends at school but refuses to do anything away from home. She wants to stay right with us all the time. Its like she is scared to allow me and my husband any time together. She thinks that she can come between us. I want to be able to move past everything that has went on over the last 2 1/2 years but I just cant right now and I am worried that if I dont then I am going to loose my husband.


Okayy where's this childs mother and do she know how her daughter is feeling towards her father? So what you are saying this child want answer any of your questions that you ask her. I'm try to put it like im not talking down on your child or anything but have yall went to the doctor to get her tested about this? Cause maybe it's a medical reason behind this that have this child feeling like that for her father. Maybe the physicians can do some research and see what they are able to find out and do give up on her it's not her fault she's like this. How are she in school around others such as her male teachers and have thought about observing her while she's in school to see what's her behavior around boys her own age.



My stepdaughter's mother is not in the picture anymore. Her mother isnt a good influence on her and only causes her hurt. As for seeing a doctor, we have. She has had a really good boyfriend since moving in with us but when her father approved of the relationship, she broke up with him. The only other contact with boys is to as she puts it is to make her father jealous. SHe has told us about hanging all over boys and she says she thought it would make her father realize that he wants her like she wants him. We dont talk down to her about this but its really hard to listen to some of the things she says. She doesnt tell her father these things, she tells me and the doctors. She has told me and the doctors that she thinks that we are all wrong that there isnt anything wrong with a father and daughter being together like that.


I feel for you, having had my ex stepdaughter make untrue molestation accusations against my son in the hopes of having my son removed from our home so she would have more of my ex's time. She eventually got her way as my ex and I divorced as a result of all the chaos. Does your stepdaughter have BPD? If so, you are fighting a losing battle.


I think the only thing that can help is extensive counseling and therapy. I would bet that your step-daughter has been abused in some way by someone (not saying it was your husband/her father) or has had some other significant psychological trauma.

No matter the age, I think that people know sexual feelings towards their parents are inappropriate. As such, if a person did have these feelings, I think they would typically try to hide them.

The fact that your step-daughter is so up-front and bold about feelings that are seriously taboo in literally every culture in the world probably either means that she: 1) has no sense of right and wrong and/or understanding of social norms and the parent/child relationship; or 2) is trying very desperately to get attention. And, like I said, I wouldn't doubt that there is an underlying mental illness, possibly coupled with some sort of trauma in her past.

Counseling for all of you is important. Reach out to all the resoruces you have. Good luck.


I know this sounds really bad but at times I feel like she has no soul. She shows no emotions until it will benefit her. She will cry if she thinks it will get her out of trouble or get her fathers attention. We know that she has done alot of stuff for attention but wanting this with her father isnt just attention seeking. To go into the details that she did. She did have alot happen in her past but I dont think that excuses her from everything she has said and done since moving in with us. I dont want to come across like I dont love her because I really do. I use to think I was really lucky because I had known her since she was born. Now I just dont know if I would say that I was lucky or not. I have thought that maybe if I hadnt known her since birth I wouldnt feel so hurt and betrayed. I would like to say thank you to everyone that has posted comments


Whatever she has in her past doesn't "excuse" her behavior, but maybe it can help "explain" it. If she successfully works on her issues through therapy, over time, this bizzare behavior could decrease or even stop.

What you are describing, I think, is something that might require in-patient care at a psychiatric facility.

Good luck.


In my opinion, and I am no counselor here, this sounds a lot like something called an "electra complex" (reference: in which a female child has unnatural feelings toward her farther. It is very similar to the Oedipus complex in which it's the son who has unnatural feelings toward their mother.

I agree with everyone else that this sounds like a job for a therapist, but maybe you should find one that specializes in electra complexes. A lot of counselors know about these complexes, but if this girl is going so far as to openly admit her feelings and what she's trying to do, then it sounds like a need for a more specialized therapist.

I also have a small part of me that thinks maybe she's making it all up. 16 is a very difficult age and I believe a lot of kids whack out around 15/16 years old. I know I did. That age is when I put my parents through the most hell. She might have found the most inappropriate behavior she could find, but isn't necessarily willing to be grounded or punished so this is what she came up with.


I agree with another person that said they weren't sure if they believed her.

This is just my opinion but perhaps she sees what this is doing to you and how much it is hurting you and she enjoys it. Maybe in some sick way she enjoys making your relationship with your husband feel threatened.

I am not proud of this by any means but when I was 16 years old I would say anything to my mother to hurt her. She had left my father when I was 15 and I blamed her for everything.

I agree with the others that think you need another counselot. Good luck!


Hello - it sounds to me as though your daughter may have ocd - or a at least an obsessional and intrusive feeling that she has these feelings for your husband, which have been expressed as if they are real. Don't change therapist just yet. A therapists job is to read her mind and decide what is happening, although he/she needs to sensitive to the family dynamics of what is happening, and his suggestion that they start hugging again, is a bit of a fearful thing to contemplate, like wallowing in a can of worms, it is actually standard advice - exposure and response prevention - for dealing with obsessional fears. Someone who is obsessionally anxious about germs would be asked to do things more and more 'risky' to their mindset and feel safer due to the results, like touch the bin for a while and wait to see if they got ill without wiping and disinfecting themselves, their clothing and the house again. It is about confronting fears. I know all this because your stepdaughter seems to be a bit like me! (everyone indraws breath). OCD-like fears can develop out of a sense of defectiveness and isolation, especially with intellegent creative people - did she get this from her early childhood? I need to go to pick up my daughter from school but I will be back.


I am in the uk. Hence the odd time for pick up. I am not lying and manipulative, in that way. I hope! I reccommend family therapy in addition to her own private therapy - it has been such a traumatic time for all of you, and there are things you need to work through as a family.I am in CBT/schema based therapy after a crisis where I came to believe I was going to abuse or had abused my children. Noone belived me - not the sociall workers or the mental health team on that score even though i can't think back to things I said without cringing yucky feeling. I phoned the nspcc (child protection charity) concerned about feelings towards my children.They reffered me through to social services to be on the safe side but the call operater felt it was a fear in the conext of a wider psychology more than a real risk. Abusers, I have been told, are not usually directly confessional, or even aware of the need. That's not to say I always believe that. My household was a bit of a mess and that is why the social services stayed in touch under a different set of people. I had feelings like your step daughter when growing up, maybe - I didn't bring them out in the open until very recently, except I thought, regularly, my father might be abusing me, kept my knickers on in bed habitually as a barrier to wake me up, or break whatever hypnosis he was using. But it wasn't entirely frightening - as I carried on and grew up. These feelings and thoughts I later reasoned were a desire to connect with him somehow... I knew it was wrong but couldn't shake it. My dad was worked a lot, could be mercurial - sarcastic, very dry and wry and but sharp-minded and worked a lot, a perfectionist, who did a lot of good for people but mainly investing himself in work and hobbies. My mum was quite a strong character, trama in her background, and with me and my brother when were babies. She found me, my rhythm, my dreaminess very difficult and my brother easier.
If you have known the family for a long time - did you have anything to do with her parent's split? (sorry to ask) - my dad left a young family after being moved sideways out to the sticks in a new office in his job, where he met my mum.
Look I better go - I need to be proper parenting instead of writing here- my daughter is five and learning disabled, but happily trotting about chating to herself. I don't know if this 'side of the story' is relevant. It might be. This female oedipus thing as part of some kind of personality disorder might also have enough fit to be diagnosable. The theory your/her therapist works in is very important to know/research. Not all therapists or psychiatrist hold much truck with psychoanalytical ideas (ie freudian) that complexes and personality disorders are linked with. Different diagnoses are probably possible - but cognitive theories are usually more optimistic in their prognosis and i would think you'd be better to stick with them. There might be some underlying condition such as ADHD-PI as well (my therapist and I are exploring that one, and my daughter may have it alongside her strep-b brain damage). But basically, what your step daughter needs- if there is any hope- is nurture rather than condemnation - I am a christian, you mentioned praying - and if she is a mary magdelene of your family, maybe she can be the first to see the risen lord!
My parents were atheists who nonetheless sent me to church sunday school and proceeded to argue with me for staying there - that (the disconnect to absorbing morals my family didn't hold to, yet getting love at church), with Dad's history (guilt towards my half-siblings I remember feeling quite early) perhaps made this sense of living with wrongness and isolation and not knowing how to deal with it.