World Revolves Around Stepdaughter

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My husband and his family treating newly found daughter as if she was the center of the universe. My husband has a 17-year-old daughter that he purposely did not have contact with for the past 17 years due to a volatile relationship with her mother (they were never married). His sister (whom he is not speaking to) located his daughter and brought her back into the family (I think to drive a wedge between he and I) and so he re-kindled the relationship. The past 6 months have resulted in my husband shoving hundreds of dollars at his daughter (because they claim she had a hard life – though she did not) and though my husband has only physically seen her only 3 times, he is now buying her a car (she doesn’t have a license or is in high school – she dropped out) We have started fighting because I thought we shared the same values on child raising and boundaries but now its as if everything we shared has gone out the window and whatever this “heir apparent” wants gets. I have 2 daughters from a previous marriage and now not only do I feel like an outsider but my daughters clearly are not included in discussions like “what they are getting the heir apparent” for Xmas. And any discussions result in arguments and my husband telling me that I am not going to tell him what he is going to do for HIS daughter. My father in law is point of frantic behavior – not only shoving thousands of dollars at this new grandchild but also giving the baby mama money as well as her other illegitimate kids (not my husbands). He even suggested putting in one of his rentals rent free – because the heir apparent had a hard life. I am ready to end this marriage because I didn’t sign up for this – and while I knew my husband had this daughter- I told him had I known this would be his and his family’s behavior – I wouldn’t have dated him. Am I over reacting? I am not having my kids with me this holiday and told him that was probably a good thing – how do I explain why his daughter is the center of attention and they are sitting there with none of his family acknowledging them. I have suggested counseling but I am being told “you don’t understand about my family” but what I feel is “blood is thicker than water” and I am obviously not blood.

A: I can hear the struggle you are having. How difficult to see this behavior in your husband. If he won’t go it is time for you to go to counseling on your own so that you can sort through your options.

What you are aiming to do is have your voice heard in this process — not about whether your husband should or shouldn’t give to his daughter, but rather what the impact is on you. Focus on what the impact is on you and talk to your husband about that.

I do think this is an opportunity for couples therapy and I would encourage you to explain to your husband that the value of going is so both of you can cope with the change that is occurring. The find help tab at the top of the page will identify individual and couples therapists in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). World Revolves Around Stepdaughter. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/15/world-revolves-around-stepdaughter/