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I'm divorced for 7 yrs after a 27 yr reasonably good marriage that ended in infidelity. My parents were married for 60 years. I'm remarried for 3 yrs for the second time to a man who is on his 3rd marriage. His mother was a single working mother who drank her cares away every evening. He met his drunken disheveled father for the first time when he was in his late 30's, and his father died within that year. I dated my spouse for 2 years. I was careful to do everything I could not to get into a negative blended family situation. We had the blessing of my family, my grown children and his two girls. We received premarital counseling at his church. We received pastoral green light. His daughters have no boundaries on what they do and say. A year after our marriage the youngest daughter wrote a 3 page letter stating she was uncomfortable with the dynamic of 3, her dad acting like a newlywed and not receiving enough attention from her dad when I was around, despite all my efforts to treat his daughters with kindness and going above and beyond to make sure they knew I was accepting of them and grateful to be included in the family. His mother and his two adult daughters went with us on our honeymoon, which I thought was a bit odd, but accommodated. The first wife divorced my husband when the girls were 5 and 7. She became an alcoholic and had joint custody. She died of alcohol intoxication after a yelling match with the youngest daughter (then 15). The daughter heard her fall in her bathroom and did not check on her. The boyfriend of the older daughter found her dead 12 hours later. Both daughters witnessed the scene. I have a good relationship with the oldest daughter who has demonstrated a high level of respect in front of me. However, her father states she doesn't like me much. It does not matter. It is my job to love these girls regardless of how they feel about me. The youngest can say and do anything she wants to me. His second wife stated that this daughter was a constant problem and she could not even ask her to pick up her shoes without reprimand. She stated the marriage became violent over this dynamic. Her father has stated, "I know how to talk to her...she is a very sensitive person...". His daughter made this statement to me in a heated argument, "...this is my home. This is not your home and I don't have to follow your rigid rules. You are not working and my dad is paying for this house." I'm feeling the problem is not with my husbands daughter, but the lack of support from my spouse. Help!
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I believe that I can help you.
It seems that you have married into a very dysfunctional family and you are experiencing very difficult dilemmas that are like traps.
He is facilitating a daughter who is way out of line, rather than standing up for you and protecting his relationship with you, which should be precious to him, as I know it is to you.
You seem to be an innocent and decent person who has suddenly entered a dark world of blame and suspicion and accusation and you are not prepared for this.
You are made to feel welcome in your own home and are being treated as an unwelcome guest who must walk on eggshells.
You have evidently reached the point at which you need to change things for the sake of your sanity or for the survival of this relationship.
Unless your husband realizes that this is an issue essential to the survival of your relationship then things will not change.
He must be approached very delicately. Going to see an experienced and competent marriage and family therapist may be the best approach, but getting him to go there with you may be difficult.
If he went he would have to acknowledge that there is a problem and he may not be ready to accept that fact. In other words, he may be in complete denial about the negative impact of his daughter's behavior, or, he may be trapped between her and you, set up by her design.
She can make him choose and he will choose her. You can try to make him choose and he will choose her as well.
There must be an alternative solution of compromise and peacemaking which HE must initiate. The daughter will not, and you do not have the position to.
He wants to ignore the situation. You want to find a compromise, and she wants to win. It is a tough situation for you, and if you cannot get him to help find a solution then you have two options, neither of which you want: stay in a failed relationship or leave a failed relationship.
Perhaps it is not as bad as it seems to be, but I have read what you wrote, and you are here seeking help, and so I believe I have given you a fair assessment.
You must be firm and gentle and walk that tightrope between the two if you are to stand a chance to turn this around. You are not looking for more than peace and harmony in your life with you husband and extended family. That is the least that you should expect and it is up to your husband to facilitate.
I wish you great success and shall keep you in my prayers.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC