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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Want help with your most important relationships? Licensed Marriage/Family Counselor.
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I have been reading a lot online about the stepparent relationship. Is

Customer Question

I have been reading a lot online about the stepparent relationship.
Is it true that a child can focus all of their anger on a stepparent
they were very close to ? This girl child and I were close from ages
10 to 19 and then she stopped responding to her Dad and I 11 months
ago today. Her Dad is so kind and she said the three of us made a good team.
It is so strange that I do feel it is not about us, just a very hurt
person lashing out. She has not told her mother or anyone what the problem
is and I wonder if this can still work itself out or has it gone on too long ?
We leave love and miss you messages every other month and did so for Christmas.
No response. We feel that cornering her would be a mistake. I just know how much precious time she is wasting with her Dad. I love them both so much, but is this
something I should let be? I so deeply wish there would be one thing in my life that
I don't have to do anything about and have it work out. Can I believe everything is as
it should be ? We have not stopped paying the college bills and are fine with that because we decided we are keeping our word. I really am trying to not take control, but it is very hard not to try and fix this.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Yes it is best to stay back, as you are. She needs time to just be cut off from you guys and when she is done she will be back. It may take many more months or even years. Her parents divorced now she is divorcing her parents, at least one of them and one step parent. Also if she was pretty well behaved (not rebellious) in her teen years she may be making up for lost time now. I think it is awesome that you guys are keeping your end up. She has to fix this not you! BE SOOOOOOOOO PATIENT.

Mark Manley

PS I did this to both of my parents at different times (they divorced when I was two).
Mark Manley and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your response which seems right on target, but I don't know that we have years. Sorry for the novel, but to reach someone that has done this is amazing !

Her Dad and I are both children of divorce and our parents handled things so poorly.

Putting us in the middle, no concern for geographic location, etc. We never did this to them, so handling things poorly must be the way to go. Somehow we learned empathy. I know divorce is divorce, but SD was my maid of honor and told me I was the best SM in the world last Christmas.

Crying now. It all started when she had a blow up with her mother and moved everything in to live with us full time. She never wanted to speak to her again and even blocked her from Facebook. Oh my ! We gave her space and consoled her mother.(Btw, we do not do Wastebook. We give kids their privacy. We don't hover. Mom calls her at college (away now) every day.)

She had fun and laughed the whole week.Then said she talked to her Mom and she was going back because it was 10 minutes closer to college. I dropped off a couple of things she forgot that she asked me for and that was that. We were the ones her Mom called to handle every emergency when she was growing up because she "could not handle it "and now we are shut out. I signed up for the extended family thing when I met my husband and did things like stay with my SD at her Mom's house until three in the morning when her sister was having a baby so my SD would get a good night's sleep for school and Mom could not make it back to pick her up. She was somewhat rebellious and the incidents we were called to handle and I mean every one of them !!! When SD was 14, Mom called me to say SD wanted to move in with my mother seven states away. Even when she moved out of Mom's in January, Mom also called in a panic that she did not know what to do. Why couldn't she do this to us for a week and her mother for 11 months ? I never care what people think, but my heart is broken when people ask about her and all I can say is she doesn't contact us. Sobbing now. This has aged my husband so much and it brings up the one thing I am terrified of. If something should happen to her Dad before she wakes up, it will ruin her life. Guilt will be with her from then on. That I am certain of because she loves him very much and knows he raised her from an infant. He would never have chosen divorce for his child. It was forced on him. What were you thinking when you put your parents through this agony ? Did you think they would be around forever ? She knows he has chronic physical pain. How can she be so cruel ? Also, did you just say oh hi there when you came back ?

Should we stop all contact or keep up the every other month thing ?

I always tried to step back and let Dad & SD have time together, but she usually asked where I was and when would she see me again. Should I send her an it is OK and I understand if you realize you did not ask for a step parent email, but you do need a Dad? Should her Dad write a letter to her that I can give her in case anything happens ?

I lost my Dad suddenly in my 20s and there was a lot of unfinished business and not too much to hang on to, so you see I have experienced this pain even without shutting him out. Please tell me as much as you can remember. We never wanted to hurt our parents even though they hurt us, so it is very hard for us to understand. We tried so hard to never make her burdened with adult decisions and the type of pain we endured.

This must have been a mistake because now we are in the worst pain of our lives . . .

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Can't write until this afternoon PST.

You have posted this question at a very low price. Please 'Accept' and if we continue on this thread I will need you to 'Accept' or as we go along or Bonus at the end of the thread.

I will be back.

Mark Manley
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
You and your husband are receiving the brunt of your stepdaughter's angst about having a mom who couldn't and can't be there as a true parent. You naturally wonder "WHY US?, we were, and are, the ones who have been and are there for her!" Simple answer, you are the safest people in her life, she can throw a fit and give you the silent treatment and have a lot of built up justifications for it all, and down deep on an unconscious level still know that you will be there. It is a complement, the most painful complement you will ever receive but still a complement.

Do you know if her mother ever bad mouths you and your husband to her?

Mark Manley and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your reply.

We hope she always knows we are a safe place and there for her.

She did express that in the past.


I have contacted JA about the subcription program I am on.

I am sorry about how the question was posted. I do not set the amount.

I will ask another question soon.

Thank you for your time,



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Mark,
Can you send an "ask me another question" button for me to use to
ask another question ?
Thank you,