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Boyfriend’s Daughter Says I’m Evil

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From the U.S.: My boyfriend was recently separated when we met 1.5 years ago. They are still in process of the divorce and he has full custody of two kids, a girl now 14 and boy now 12. We waited about 7 months before the kids even met me and for the first year everything has been fine… I mostly spend time there on weekends and we do things with the kids, movies, ball games, shopping, all ordinary stuff… I sleep over occasionally during the week, but not frequent. The kid’s mom has a live in boyfriend that they don’t seem to mind.

Then 3 weeks ago the daughter had a nuclear meltdown… crying, yelling, called her mom, her mom got so riled up she sent the police over… it was nuts. I was not involved in any of this, and just stayed in the bedroom while my BF tried to talk to her…

Now she says it was all because of me. I upset her. She doesn’t feel comfortable when I’m there, she has started telling lies about me to make my BF mad at me. I just have no idea what brought this on all of a sudden. I hadn’t even seen her in two weeks as she’s was on vacation with mom at end of summer.

Last week she told my BF that I shouldn’t be allowed to come over when she’s there… He told her that he wished she didn’t feel that way, but she doesn’t get to choose who visits her Dad’s house and he wished she would try to resolve her anger at me. She told him he was selfish and didn’t care about anyone but himself… then she said I was evil… wow!

It just all came so out of the blue and since my BF said he wouldn’t stop having me visit she won’t even talk to him.

She is a complete spoiled manipulative brat and I’m sure she sees me as a general threat to her control of her dad, as I don’t play into her drama… That I could deal with… But the level of anger all of a sudden is so upsetting… I’m very concerned for her and my BF and have no idea what to do. We have agreed that she doesn’t get to set limits on us and we have reduced my visits, but not eliminated them, we are trying to maintain normalcy in our routine, but it’s impossible and I’m tired of walking on eggshells around her.

I know this is something he needs to fix, but how? What is a good strategy for this? We are at a loss :(

Boyfriend’s Daughter Says I’m Evil

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. Few people are prepared for what happens when they enter a relationship with a parent of a teen. The problem here is not that you are evil. (You knew that.) Fortunately, the problem isn’t that your boyfriend caves in to a demanding kid. He hasn’t done so. The problem is a very common one (though painful for you).

The daughter is right at the age when, developmentally, girls most want positive attention from their dads. Her dad is the most important man in her life right now. She is figuring out how to be in relationship to men. In healthy father-daughter relationships, the dad helps his daughter feel good about herself as a young woman by listening to her and letting her know she is pretty and smart and interesting. As she develops more self-confidence, the daughter will turn her attention to her peer group. If the dad has done his job well, she will look for healthy men and a healthy relationship.

You didn’t realize it but your very existence interrupted this normal developmental period. You are the “other woman,” with whom she has to share her dad’s attention. She doesn’t realize it but she sees you as competition and is acting that out in a childish way (because she is a child). So I don’t see her as a manipulative spoiled brat. I see her as a kid in pain who doesn’t understand that her dad can give her the attention she craves and needs — and still have a girlfriend.

Punishment for her behavior won’t help the situation. Yes, draw limits. But then her dad needs to have some serious talks with her. She needs to hear that he loves her and that he thinks she’s pretty terrific and that there’s room in his heart for both of you. He needs to make a point to spend regular special alone time with her — even if it is just to go for a cup of coffee or to shop for something she needs or to go for a jog. He — and you — need to “catch her” being appropriate whenever you can, letting her know when you think she has behaved well or said something interesting or funny. The two of you can be a role model for warmth and affection toward each other and toward her.

Above all — don’t take any of this personally. It’s not personal. You could be a goddess and the same stuff would be going on.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Boyfriend’s Daughter Says I’m Evil

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Boyfriend’s Daughter Says I’m Evil. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/10/16/boyfriends-daughter-says-im-evil/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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