Our expert says:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
Hi Stuck and thanks for posting here.
Somehow you've become entangled - as you say, stuck - in a family dynamic. Your family system consists of three two-way relationships between yourself and your daughter, yourself and your partner, and between your daughter and your partner. These relationships all influence each other and operate within the unique culture of the family, including power dynamics, communication patterns, roles, rules and norms, and how conflict is resolved.
The best advice is for you to step out of the current role of trying to contain the stress - and I suggest you start by discussing and sorting out your relationship with your partner. Any residual or unresolved issues here could impact on your partner's relationship with your daughter. Ensure that your partner feels included in the family and appreciated as a co-parent, and that she's not competing with your daughter for your attention. And she'll need to understand why she can't force her own dress-sense onto your daughter.
Next, it could be wise for you and your partner to jointly talk with your daughter and sort out the collective family 'rule' regarding individuality and how people express this. Allow space for people to agree to disagree. Give things time to simmer, during which you encourage your daughter and your partner to speak to each other directly while you carry on with your own business.
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