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Question
Posted by: Cindy | 2010/08/16

Adult stepdaughter

How do you handle an adult stepdaughter (aged 23) that still comes over to visit every second weekend like a younger child. She comes the Friday evening and stays until the Sunday evening. She works, but receives a very low salary. She''s overweight and has no boy friend. Her father overprotects her and she does not have to help with the household chores, because she''s " a guest"  . She rarely talks, chain smokes, looks depressed and unfriendly most of the time and glares at me when she gets a chance. I feel uncomfortable in my own house. I wish to say to her: go on a diet, lose some weight and get a life"  , but keep my mouth shut. I want to flee from the house, because I hate the atmosphere when she''s around. When I try to talk to her, she answers me bluntly. We don''t even take her to family gatherings, because she just sits there with her unfriendly face and stares at everyone. Her father holds himself blind to all of this. I can see she''s unhappy with her life, but why must my household be disrupted by this? It seems that she''s even more unhappy at her mother''s house, because she insists to come to visit us, but brings this negative vibe with her.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

A guest is someone who comes only occasionally, at your request, not someone who comes regularly at their own decision.
Sounds like she's given up on herself, sopmeone who aimed low in life, and still missed.
Relying on her dad's pity ( and maybe guilt ? ) to help her, and not bothering to do some of the obvious things that could help improve her situation. He may have fallen into the trap of becoming an Enabler, who enables a person to fail and excuses their failure to even seriously try.
Can you calmly and gently discuss with her dad, in a way that would make it harder for him to see it as an attack on her or on himself, how she needs individual counsellin and help, or she will spend her life as an emotional equivalent of the Cold Front the weathermen talk of, a small cloud of gloom,, sharing her misery with others while not validly trying to change it herself ?

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4
Our users say:
Posted by: Roy | 2010/08/18

Why should you dictate when she may or may not visit her father? Is every 2nd weekend that unreasonable? Ever thought about why she is mad?

Please for a meoment walk in her ''obese'' shoes and ... never mind. Point is she has gone through divorce which can be daunting, she sees you as someone who came &  replaced her mom &  broke her home. Now will you be an adult &  reach out to the poor kid, if she is your husband off-spring then you are going to see her ''unhappy'' face a lot more.

Personally i think you just dont like her cos of the description that you give her.

Reply to Roy
Posted by: Haylee | 2010/08/16

Hi Cindy,

I’ ve had to live with a step mother for many years. We hated each other, and I eventually moved out because I couldn''t handle her anymore. However, we managed to sort things out with each other a few years ago, and now we can even be in the same room.

Try and understand your stepdaughter’ s side of the situation. She sees it as ‘ you’ ve moved into her Dad’ s house, and that you make her feel uncomfortable. It often takes two to tango, maybe she isn’ t the easiest person to live with, but by the sounds of things, neither are you.

If you really want to work things out, then you need to reach out a bit more.

Reply to Haylee
Posted by: Haylee | 2010/08/16

Hi Cindy,

I’ ve had to live with a step mother for many years. We hated each other, and I eventually moved out because I couldn''t handle her anymore. However, we managed to sort things out with each other a few years ago, and now we can even be in the same room.

Try and understand your stepdaughter’ s side of the situation. She sees it as ‘ you’ ve moved into her Dad’ s house, and that you make her feel uncomfortable. It often takes two to tango, maybe she isn’ t the easiest person to live with, but by the sounds of things, neither are you.

If you really want to work things out, then you need to reach out a bit more.

Reply to Haylee
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/08/16

A guest is someone who comes only occasionally, at your request, not someone who comes regularly at their own decision.
Sounds like she's given up on herself, sopmeone who aimed low in life, and still missed.
Relying on her dad's pity ( and maybe guilt ? ) to help her, and not bothering to do some of the obvious things that could help improve her situation. He may have fallen into the trap of becoming an Enabler, who enables a person to fail and excuses their failure to even seriously try.
Can you calmly and gently discuss with her dad, in a way that would make it harder for him to see it as an attack on her or on himself, how she needs individual counsellin and help, or she will spend her life as an emotional equivalent of the Cold Front the weathermen talk of, a small cloud of gloom,, sharing her misery with others while not validly trying to change it herself ?

Reply to cybershrink

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