I am writing you to ask for some serious advice, my husband has two daughters one, 18 years old, and the other 25, both are bipolar, especially his youngest daughter, now, for three years his older daughter lived with us which was supposed to be on a temp basis, I am glad she moved out, however, during her time with us, she would have extreme up’s and really low downs as far as her moods, she could not control her emotions, I watched her have a mild break down over a broken iPhone, she made excuses about everything in her life, she was good at reversing the truth, and showed serious signs of jealousy, she would stay in her room literally all day, never speaks, but when she was in a good mood she was pleasant, we could go to the grocery store laughing having fun, no sooner than we got home she would not speak?

Now, his youngest daughter is going to be living with us, her mother committed suicide, and I see the same things happening as her half sister, she visited us for spring break, and as I type this letter she is in her room never comes out, no good morning, and one minute she is nice, the next a living hell for me, I have argued with his oldest while living with me, they make excuses and stay in denial all the time, it is overwhelming,

sometimes i want to leave my husband, maybe not permanent but for a couple of weeks or months, my husband shows signs that perhaps between their both mothers, and him, it may run in the family, he blames all the time, he only gets along with certain people, he doesn’t respect authority at work as a officer, he can be controlling, and he can be verbally abusive, and I need to ask if a person does not hit you, but always thinks about it, should I be concerned? please help!!!!

A: What a complicated situation. Your husband is asking a lot of you. Not only are you taking in these difficult young women, but he is apparently not giving you any help. He needs to let them know they have to be civil to you. You are trying to engage these girls in life, but they and their dad aren’t joining you in the project. You can’t be their therapist. You can’t be a surrogate mom. All you can be is a caring adult. But you can’t do much, if your husband isn’t supportive and the girls won’t accept your care.

The girls need treatment if they are to get better. I hope they are taking medication. I very much hope they are getting some therapy, especially the girl whose mother committed suicide. Mental illness may or may not run in the family. But your husband is giving his daughters a terrible role model for how to treat other people.

Most important, he needs to get involved with their care. If he can’t or won’t, you need to find a way to protect your own feelings when these young women are disrespectful. Do stay out of arguments with them. You can’t win. By all means, invite them to go places with you, but don’t take it personally, if they turn you down. And don’t plead with them. Invite them once, then go about your own business. Take a deep breath and step back emotionally.

As for your final question: If your husband lets you know that he thinks about hitting you, he is threatening you. That is verbal and emotional abuse. Regardless of whether the girls get off on their own, you may want to rethink this marriage.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). I Don’t Know How to Deal with My Husband’s Daughters. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/19/i-dont-know-how-to-deal-with-my-husbands-daughters/