stepdaughter making me insane
10/01/2007 at 22:32 PM

 My husband has a 17 yr old daughter who moved in with us when she was 12yrs old. I have tried my best to help her, be there when her mom isn't and help her but I know I am at the breaking point. She is cruel to me, lies about me, coniving, disrespectful, snippy even in front of her dad because he won't do anything. When I confront him he says he wasn't paying attention when I know he was. Her dad and her text when they are in the same room and won't tell me what was said. Messages erased after they are done. Her dad believes her over me even when he finds out the truth later. I feel that if I don't move out or go get some stress pills my health will suffer horribly and I can't afford that right now because I am raising a 7 month old baby. I used to be a very quiet person, reserved, but anymore I am emotional, anger built up. I think it has gone on to long. I have tried talking to him about it, but he says he will try and things never change she is not disciplined and when we are together as a family him and her are secretive like I am their kid and they the adults. it makes me feel very uncomfortable. They try to make me out a idiot and I really feel that I am not. I love him so much but is enough really enough?? Please any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Hey mistyhorse,


It sounds like you are having a very hard time with not just your step-daughter but also your husband.


I would suggest martial and family counseling.  I think you will have to get to the bottom of this.  Also remember that it is easy to see the faults in a step-child and hard to see them in your own child so cut your husband a little slack on that one.  But the talking together to keep things from you is another issue and does need to be addressed.


What does everyone else think?




Hello Mistyhorse21,

I currently have an 18 yrs-old step-daughter (married her father when she was 12 yrs-old). I hear my own self in your post - it is never easy stepping into other people's lives. From the beginning, my husband and I spoke to both of his girls and explained the situation to them - I know that I am not your mother, but treat me like a friend, treat me with respect and I will treat you the same. My husband and I have always 'stuck-together' and never made bigger decisions without the other. I have never accepted less from my husband and both the girls have always known where I stood. Kids learn very quickly how to 'play-the-game' between their parent and the married spouse (us).You need to speak with your husband asap about your issues ... I agree - this problem has been going on way too long and you have your own child to raise. Counseling is a great option - if your husband will agree. He loves his 'little-girl' and has been running the 'show' since the beginning of your marriage. It is time for you to begin running the show (your own life) ... if your husband respects you, this issue will be dealt with quickly and to your satisfaction! I wish you the best ... I hope that you will read this and begin living a happier life.


This is really tough because your baby would be the safest if she had a mom and a dad who love each other, who live in the same house.  The more I think of it, the more I think that if it were me, I would just leave, even though that will be a hard thing for you and your baby.  The reason I say that is the lack of respect and caring that your husband shows.  That would not be good for the baby to learn, growing up.  AND DON'T THREATEN TO LEAVE.  just do it.   


The relationship you describe between your stepdaughter and  her father is reason enough to take the baby and go.  The man needs to understand that you and he are the team, not he and she. I agree that you don't threaten to go...just do it.  How to leave this man with what you will need is another story.  But it is clear that until he commands his daughter to respect you, it will never happen.  You now see a change in yourself.  You need some counseling and support so that you don't lose so much of yourself before you have a hard time remembering who you are.  My husband and biological daughter had a relationship similar to this.  Your story hit  home for me.  I can empathize and speak from personal experience that until he understood how serious I was about leaving, he went on being our daughter's pal.  My leaving was a huge wake-up call for both of them.  After lots of therapy, I am happy to report, that on most days,...We are all still a happy family.


If i were you i'd try family councilling but if they won't join in at least go for yourself. It sounds like everyone is adjusting still. Your step-daughter may always see you as a threat to her own relationship with her dad. Take a step back and let her dad do more parenting with her for a while. Try being her friend instead and take it from there. I've been in this situation too. Once i became a friend instead it went well. Goodluck.


I also used the same lines on her. I'm not your mom and in no way do I want to replace her or overstep but in the same aspect I deserve respect from you I told her and you are very right they learn how to play the games especially one against the other. I'm a very soft hearted person and I do admit that it breaks my heart when she disrespects me. I try hard not to care anymore but deep down I do. Yes counseling sounds good, I just hope that he stand behind me after it. If not then I should go my seperate way and not threaten to do it, just do it. My own child will have a mom and dad. I won't will hold it against him its just something that has to be done. Keep a friendship for the childs sake.

I appreciate your replys they helped. :)


you are right it is always easier said then done. thats how my mom always put it. I always wanted a fairy tale for my daughter. Happy home, mom and dad loving each other unconditionally and things working themselves out. But I guess life has its own way of making our path. Because if it continues like you said my child will grow up in it and who's to say I won't be in the same situation I'm in now with no respect. I am going to try counseling and if it don't work out my only option is to leave.

Thanks for your reply


Bel, how do you become a "friend" when there is tension?  My step daughter lies, manipulates, conives, disrespects, does what she wants, she runs to "daddy" who either defends her "because someone has to" or gives in - he is totally inconsistent with his expectations/rules so to say.  She will call him and ask instead of me, even though I am the one who will need to do the driving, etc.  she says good night to him, never me.  she basically walks all over everyone, gets away with it and frustrates the heck out of me because I see this going on.  it's the only thing my husband and I argue about.  I want so much to look at her with respect, treat her with respect and at least be friends, but how?  heck she does the same thing in school with her friends.  how do you ignore it all and just be friends?  I live here too, as do her two sisters.  please advise. thanks.


  The issue is not the daughter, nor you being a stepmother. The issue is the father and the poor example he is setting for his children. The kids will follow his lead. Until Dad changes, dont expect the kids to change.


thanks.  makes sense ... that's another tough road to pave. I know parenting styles can change - I've seen it with my parents who had two generations of kids.  coming from a "dad", I appreciate the response.   


... and if Dad doesn't change?  what if he continues to parent the way he has, and continues to ask me to be more understanding?  how can I make this work?  I've lost my sense of humor, am not relaxed but rather stressed. I used to be fun loving and relaxed in my day to day interactions and things have become 'serious' in nature. we both walk on eggshells, are stressed. he tells me how much he loves me, and has hope. he "wants me to look outside the box" and see what he sees. he says it's quite simple but I need to be more understanding. perhaps hearing it from others will make sense to me.  right now I feel almost resentful towards him and I'm not sure if it is me rather than him.

am I making this worse, for all of us?  what am I missing?  

I must say that I agree! I say, try counseling first before leaving, but if your husband doesn't agree, then what can you do, but make sure you and your son are mentally and physically healthy. Your husband would probably take you more seriously then.

I must say, I was almost in your same situation. I told my husband, look put your foot down.. or I will leave.... I can't lose my sanity and feel uncomfortable in my own home.. not only that, but I would do it for him. My husband comes first and so should a wife.. everything else is second.

I can say this.. it was hard for my husband, but he put his foot down.



    Are you OK? Hope your absence on the boards means that real life is better for you!  Thinking of you. 


I have been living with this exact situation for 3 years.  We just married 3 months ago and it is now getting worse.  My husband and his daughter have private conversations, act like they are the husband and wife.  I begged him for 3 years to discipline her but he is so manipulated by her and her mother that he cant. She cuts her hair repeatedly and he never tells her it is bad.  He will try sometimes by putting her in the corner, making her leave the table when she refuses to talk, yelling at her, and also talking to her but all it takes is her crying at the babysitter when he picks her up saying she don't want to come to our house. She puts fear in him that she will want to live with her mother more and then he blindside me.  Later that night this 6 y/o step-daughter looks me right in the face and says she is not talking to me whenI asked her if she was going to talk, I make her leave the table for being disrespectful.  Thinking my husband is still on the same page as me and I get blind sided. He stood up as she is leaving screams at me and calls me a psycho in front of my two biological boys.  Tells her to come back, hugs her, and tells her she doesn't have to go to her room.  He calls me a bitch and tells her she is doing nothing wrong.Until I found this forum I had no idea that this is really bad.  I am done with the abuse and getting divorce papers today.  He really loves me as I do him, but enough is enough.  My kids have suffered enough from his abuse.  I know what is next...he starts abusing my kids when they yell at her for being a brat to them.  I WILL NOT EVEN GO THERE.   


I am in the same situation too although I am not living with them. I understand how you feel. I get abit stress when my boyf's daughters are around and they are so lazy. My boyf is scared of telling them off. I am trying to be fair and firm with them as they walk all over their father. If you talk to the step daughter and tell her how you feel, she may see sense and understand if she is old enough to understand. It is hard when you have a young child too and trying to make everyone happy. Maybe family counselling would help. Just hope that the step daughter will accept you and your child into the family. Sound like she is jealous that your new child has come into the family. As my step daughter has a daughter of her own and her dad makes my son feel neglected at times. My son is very good with the little girl but my boyf pushes him away. The mother of the daughter is jealous of her dad's and my son's relationship. So it could be that with your step daughter.
I hope counselling will solve the problem. If not then get out and move on.


i think you need to get the respect from your husband first how can she have any respect for you when her dad plays his little games I would get help for sure


Through your post I have learned I am not alone. My Stepdaughter just turned 18 a few days ago. She has been very disrespectful and has always been allowed to do so. Her vocabulary contains 1 big word. F---.
She lies about me and my husband to her mother,teachers,therapist and even my own friends. she is coniving, disrespectful,and will swear at me in front of her dad because he won't do anything. When I confront him he says he wasn't paying attention or he will say, What do you want me to do, Beat her? I explained that the only reason she continues to do it is because by him doing NOTHING about it, He promotes the behavior. All his phone calls to his kids are on his way to work or on his way home. I never know what is being said. I have asked why the calls are only made and received on his cell? He said because he doesn't need my permission to speak to them. I thought, What? I'm not saying you need my permission. I am just wondering why the calls are never made in front of me.
Recently I went away with family out of State for a few days. My husband immediately called his kids to come over that weekend. When I returned I found an item was taken, I asked my husband if he saw it. It was a picture. I know it was on the fridge before I left. He said No. I know my stepdaughter wanted that pic. I called her and asked her if she saw it, She told me to go F--- myself. My husband didn't say a word about it. She then left a message that she wold come down and beat the F-----g crap out of me. Yet nothing was done. I am considering taking the recording to the cops and getting a restraining order to keep her away from here. She is VERY unstable. I have been with her father since she was almost 8 years old. We have had the worse marriage possible. She lived with us for a year when she was 16 and though she hated having rules she had no other option but to follow them. Her family on her mothers side actually thanked me because for the first time they saw a well behaved child. I received comments from teachers, therapist etc. of how amazing she was. She then moved back with her greedy mom and is now back to her old self.


Im in the same situation except my husbands says hes going to do something and doesnt or tells me to tell him what to do but i feel your pain!!


My husband originally said he would do something but 10 years later I am still waiting. I spent 10 years dealing with this unstable child and her mother as well. I feel I got into more then I really needed. My marriage has been ruined by this child. I have lost all respect for my husband.
If your husband say's he will do something well hopefully he will before it is too late!
Our marriage therapist told my husband that he MUST put his marriage first and that NEVER happened. He seems to be afraid to upset his children. I however know that no matter what he tells this child, she will continue to do what she wants. She has been allowed to disrespect every adult since she was younger. She has ruined her mothers relationships as well. If these parents can't stand up to her well there isn't much that a Step-parent can do. I have 2 children of my own and let me say, They know better then to show any disrespect. I would not tolerate such behavior. My children have time and time again observed this child being disrespectful and to date do not even associate themselves with her. They are very upset at my husband for not standing up.


Sounds like part of the problem is you. Are you intimidated by a child? Sounds like maybe you are having some emotional probs due to your recent pregnancy. Why are you blaming a child? Why are all of you women on here blaming a child? The real prob lies w/ the husband and wife......not the little girl. Grow up ladies, she will always be his daughter, but you may not always be his wife.


DO NOT let your stepdaughter come between you and your husband. The relationship you have with your husband is priority.

Your stepdaughter is basically grown now and, I assume, has had family issues and discipline issues in the past. Not too much you can do about it now except stick up for yourself the best you can.

A 17 year old girl who is angry and emotional is going through her own social issues and probably isn't too concerned about your feelings. Maybe your husband can get to the root of her anger. Sounds like you may be an easy target to attack when she needs someone to blame for her own problems.

Encourage your husband and your stepdaughter to spend alone time together. Prayer and reading your Bible really helps. Hang in there.


No matter what iI say or do my boyfriends daughter disagrres in a very rude way. She always puts me down, yells at me and her father. She does no chores we ask her to do. Then runs to her Granmothers house every weekend to avoid family time and to help out around the house. She 15 years old,says there is no God,smokes, and likes the same sex. Her dad says he talks to her when they are alone but I see no change or hear of it. What do I do??? Should I even think of getting married? Can I make a change in this crazy situation?


No, you cannot. Crazy is crazy. It will get worse when you are married, because then you will be stuck in the crazy situation. Unless you want a life of crazy, get out now. Been there, thought love and a positive influence would change things, ended up heartbroken and divorced and $20,000 in debt from medical and legal fees for the step-daughters. Get on with your life without the stress and drama. Best of luck!


I met my step son when he was 8yrs old, now months from turning 17 and has been disrespectful to me, his dad, his mom, teachers, and coaches for as long as I have known him and now he runs our house. For a while I thought he was starting to come around but I was wrong. I think kids should have chores. It teaches them responsablity & accountability. But from day one when he was at my home for the weekend and I would tell him to pick up his mess or tell him it was time for bed, he would just ignor me and walk away or say something rude. His dad would pretend he did not hear it and when I would say your son is disrespectful, dad would say that I needed to earn his sons respect then he would go buy his son some $100.00 toy. I should have ended it there. His son got tired of fighting with his mom about 1-1/2 years ago and asked me if he could move in with us and after telling me some bull story of things that were going on at home and me not verifying his story, said yes but only with the agreement that he did not start bumping heads with me like we have done in the past, he keeps his room and bathroom clean and picks up after him self. None of this ever hasppen. Two weeks after he moved in, he and I were fighting over the same things him and his mom were. When I tell my husband whats going on my husband tells him,girls are sensitive, your the man you can take it and tells me I need to earn his sons respect. Seems like I have heard this before. I ask his son to take out his bathroom trash, he says, YEP (just like that) a few days go by and I tell him to do it. YEP. weeks go by and I go off because the tras is now flowing over with dirty kleenex. He takes the trash and sets it on the front steps and we get into a huge fight. It seems like he does things just to tick me off and has from day one and of course his dad does not see it. I just do not like his kid. This skid has shoved me in the past, told his dad lie's about me, sworn at me, walks away when I'm talking to him, shut the door in my face, punched a hole in the door and treats his dad like crap, manipulates him to get what he wants to the point of saying every few months that he is going to move back to his moms and of course he never does because his dad promises him something. Two weeks ago we got into it again over me finding his school books out in the rain in the next yard. I called his dad who had his son with him and asked why these books were stacked so nice with his pencil right next to them and when he asked his son the question, I could hear him say, Oh, um. Then dad says he will call me back. By the time I get home they have a story that someone broke into the kids car and stole his back pack. So now we have a theif who cares enough to stack the books neatly and leave his pencil is what I say and son says, what the F..., do you really think I'm making this up and dad jumps to his defence like he always does but does not say a word about his swearing. For the last month, I try to tell him he needs to go deal with the ticket he got. I took him to deal with it whan he first got it but it was not in the system yet so the lady tells him to come back the following month on a certain date when he was done with football but he had the flu so when he was feeling better I offered to take him right after school, yep. He goes to see his girlfriend instead then spends the night at his moms. His mom lives a lot closer to the court house so I called him the next morning to tell him he should go from there. He does not answer the phone to me(ever) so I left in his voice mail and also on his moms. He comes home and says he did not know how to get there. So I offer to take him on his day off and he says ok but then decides that day to go work with his dad so I try one more time saying lets do it right after school and without so much as a phone call to tell me he's not going,he goes to his girlfriends. So last week I try to explain to him why he does not want to wait until the last min. and he tell me to never mind, he has until the 17th and starts to walk away and I should not have said what I said (go F... your self but I've just had it with him doing things when he feels like and attitude that someone better be ready to help him deal with whatever whenever. His dad told me its none of my business and I had no right to swear at his kid. Funny, he did not say that to him the week before. His son informed him on Sunday, over the phone while at his moms that once again he was moving out. He came on Monday and took his clothes. His mom called me that same day to find out what was going on and that she felt her son was once again trying to play all of us and I told her he came and got his clothes. She said she told him he is not running between houses when he does not get his way and I said no he is not because he is not coming back here. Now his dad blames me. I treated him bad and drove him away. I said he has been disrespectful forever and you pat him on the head and go buy him something for it and you always have. I do not blame his son, I blame my husband for not standing up to him from the start and I blame myself for staying in this relationship when I knew it would never change. They both have me so angry and full of resentment that now, I just want out. I can not take it anymore! Everyone else see's whats going on from teachers to my family, why can't my husband?


Because your husband thinks he is showing love for his son in this way and is more interested in keeping his son happy than doing the right thing by him. If this situation has been going on for years, it is unlikely to change now. So sorry you are going through this.


Stepfamilies are hard esp. with teenagers. It does sound like your family needs counseling as it is out of hand if you feel this stressed. If they won't go for counseling, go yourself to see if you can work it out on your own before leaving the family.


your stressed, deal with your stress first, you can deal with them untill your in the right frame of mind. Your husband doing the secret message thing, so what, if that is your biggest problem tell him how you feel and how it makes your life misserable. That is a problem between you and him and its not that bad. She wont be there forever and you have another child that needs you both, dont be selfish. He is trying to make you both happy and its not working. You need to take the monkey off your back, his daughter is his problem not yours. Let him deal with her. You just be friendly and support him. Try and get professional help just you and him then bring her if that doesnt solve it.