Stress - what to do? with nightmare Stepdaughters?

This is probably the wrong message area to say this but, hoping others with secondaries may offer some advice…I have 2 stepdaughters age 18 and 20, both very young 18-20yr olds who have had a rough upbringin in usa with their mum who is bipolar.

They both recently came to live with me and their dad, (20 yr been with us 2 years and the 18yr old 6 months).

They both have major social problems, have no friends (apart from fiction facebook ones!) struggle at college with their lecturers, rude to most people they meet, never go out, demand everythin ‘i need’ ‘you will take me’ etc absolutlely no manners even tho I try my hardest to make them say please can i,i would like, etc but to no avail, and if i say the slightest thing to help them i am critising them and being a b*t*h.

According to the youngest I am a b*t*h and hates livin with HER (me) and the other one says i am snobish, spiteful and horrible!

I am a really kind, bubbly person who does everythin for anyone else and goes out of my way to see that others are happy! thinkin of me second. I have too many friends! cant keep up with them all at times! I never winge about my health and carry on with daily routine, work 4days, as normal despite havin issues myself. So i find the comments extremely distressing and sad that these 2 girls can think of me like that.

Anyway, the latest argument last night led me to have a panic attack (never had one before in my life) i assume it was i couldn breathe and collapsed and gasping for air for about 5 minutes? all because the older one announced at dinner table, to her dad, ‘you owe me £8.40 for a pair of shoes for her sister and bus fare’ i chipped in cheerily half laughin said thats fine as you owe us £15 so thats quits then! and with that she hurls abuse at me sayin ‘i was gona pay you when i got my tax back from work’ which she hadnt said before, anywya with that her dad stormed off sayin im fed up with this, and went off in a strop. I was only replyin to her conversation but she didnt take it well, she then started b*tchin about me at the dinner table so i got up and left sat in the front room where her dad said ‘why did you have to say that?’ i said i was just statin a fact? nothin more nothin more meant by it?!

anywya we then go on to hav a blazing row, and i said its ruinin my health and causing me stress and having problems breathin! he said well leave then, but dont expect me to come runnin after you. i was exhausted and collapsed and then had to sleep.

he has since apologised but what do i do??? we are supposed to be getting married in july, deposit payed and stuff paid out for.

what a mess. my life feels like ive made a big mistake. i dont think i am ever goin to get on with his kids, do i stay and ignore them? and live in a miserable house? or do i leave and be miserable alone? as i couldn bear another relationship now as think my secondaries are worse - waitin for scan results - hav problems with my breathing which is scaring me. but if i live alone and my secondaries are worse i will want help being looked after!

what do you think? i love my partner just dont get on with his girls and he cant seem to control them and its very much them 3 against me. Noone understands how hard it is for me bein a stepparent, and noone ever considers my health as I never winge so they think im fine!

Be grateful for your comments.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Hi Zippy,

This is a very difficult situation and I really feel for you. I too live with my 2 stepdaughters though, at 14 and 13, younger than yours. I also have a stepson of 16. I also have three sons from my previous marriage so we have a very full house.

It is extremely difficult living with someone else’s children and I know my husband finds it hard with my 3 boys - the fact is that although you may like them (maybe not in your case) they are NOT your children and you don’t love them unconditionally like your own. Therefore, any rudeness, selfishness and bad behaviour is difficult to understand and seems to be magnified. I remember asking my stepson two years ago why he didn’t think he had to do as he was told (we’d had to introduce a few rules to manage a household of 6 children). He said “because it suits me not too”. I found this so frustrating and couldn’t react like I do with my own children. I am much harder on my own than I am on my step children and my husband is the same with mine.

We got married in September last year but I must admit to sometimes wishing I could run away - it’s soooo stressful, without also having had the dx we have had to deal with. My stepchildren’s mother died and one daughter told me she wished I had died and not her mother - of course, a completely natural feeling and at least she’s talking about it but it was still hurtful to hear.

I’m rambling on but I have found the best way to deal with them is to now ignore their bad behaviour etc but let their father know quietly what has gone on etc and he then deals with it. If it’s at the dinner table I just don’t react but I may nudge him under the table. It seems to work - just take deep breaths and walk away! If you want to stay together, you need to be seen to be a united front - and deal with your differences in private.

I know it’s so hard, but you can do it if you want to be with your man. One last thing, my motto is “time passes and continues” and one day you will look back on this together and say “bloody hell, that was a hard time, wasn’t it?!”.

Hope this helps - and sorry for rambling!!

Sally xx

Hi Zippy,
Just wanted to say poor you sounds like you are having a pritty horrid time with them. Could you have a quiet word with your partner . There certainly should be some ground rules - re paying bills and helping round the house and just about being courteous to each other. If the situation is making you feel ill would it be possible to suggest tactfully to your OH that the girls find a flat together - everyone might be happier that way?


I too have a nightmare stepdaughter but thankfully mine is an adult[38]married and with one child.She accused me of using chemo as an excuse to get out of washing up and of hypochondria when taxotere made me ill.This was in may 2007 just before my last chemo.She lives in Canada and hasnt contacted us sincce 2007.Her dad and I have been married for 20 years and she used to be fine until I was ill.I think girls and their fathers have a very complex relationship especially after a break up.I am close to my stepsons and have a son and daughter of my own.This woman is the only one to be a problem.My husband is wonderful.He will be there for her if she needs him but feels the rift is of her making.If your man is not prepared to stand by you maybe you will be better off without him.If he is going to allow them to undermine you all the time it cant be a comfortable situation.Is it not possible,at their ages that they should be helped to get a little flat together so you arent on top of each other/They are not children,if they live with you they mus respect you even if they cant love you.
All the best,Valxx

Hi Zippy,
My relationship(of 14 years)ended because of problems with my partners previous life that I couldn’t handle.He was older than me and had been married twice before and had three children.
There are a couple of good websites which might be able to help you get through your difficulties with your stepchildren.
If Bcc will allow me,they are; and
I hope these help you.
Alli x

Hi Zippy

What an awful situation for you, those girls sound horrendous to live with.

Is there any chance that you and your fiance could get a little break away from them, say a long weekend or something. Perhaps you could then try to persuade him that these girls need to live by some rules of decency and respect or move out.

You have enough to deal with without this.

Good luck


If you are tied in financially you have to do some talking if not do some walking. Sorry dealing with your own family can be difficult but two grown women who’s mother obviously could not cope I think this asking too much. If you love him and he can support you through this and ask them to show you some respect, well that would be worth staying
for. Without that sort of support the relationship doesn’t really sound strong enough to deal with these issues.
Sorry don’t mean to be blunt and uncaring dealing with cancer is tough enough.
Love Debsxxx

As a therapist, I wonder if you’ve considered family therapy? I don’t know your financial situation but I would hope that one of the cancer charities might be able to help, if paying privately was out of the question.

And bear in mind that, generally, most people say, when family therapy is suggested,
“He’d/they’d/she’d never agree to it” or “it wouldn’t work for our family” or any number of other excuses(!), but often people who seem unlikely to agree to therapy or be helped by it are the ones that benefit the most.

Worth a try?

Sass xx


thanks for all your replies. been really helpful. however probably seen from my other posts things hav taken a turn.

just been dx with spread to my liver and lower spine, so not great news.

however had to put my stepdaughters text on here in response to me sayin im sorry but i may be hard to live with over next few months and sorry they have to put up with me being ill whilst having treatment this is what she said,

‘thats ok. ok, first of alll, we have done this before so we know what it is like. Dont ever apologise for being fussy or sick or in a bad mood or whatever. You have every right to be. And second, you are our Mum too. We will do anything to help you or to make you feel better etc. We will all get through this. We are a family and a strong one! This is a little stumble. It isnt going to knock any of us down , as long as we stick together. And we do both love you and dad, despite what you may think sometimes. lol xxxx’

how lovely is that text! why did i let it all get me down so much with the arguments with the girls, i never realised how much she did care. I blame it on arimedex its given me such a bad time with ups and downs, glad and relieved to be off of it now.

:slight_smile: xxx

Zippy, that is a lovely text and teenagers can be difficult so fingers crossed you can and will all pull together as a family. As I said on the other thread I wish you luck with your treatment just tell them when you are, tired, sick or uncomfortable so they can understand how you are feeling. All families have problems from time to time.
Love Debsxxx

Cancel the family therapist!

Seriously; lovely news.
Sass xx

That text is lovely - it certainly is so nice when things are going well and everyone gets on.

Sorry to hear your news - sending you my best wishes.

Sally x