I am in a relationship with a man who has three children with three other women. We have recently had a child of our own and she has had some health issues, an airway defect which needed an operation and she has started presenting with epilepsy which she is being tested for now. My fiance’s last child before mine has severe autism, she requires a lot of attention and is becoming more difficult to manage, she requires a lot of maintenance and some days i don’t get the opportunity to interact with my daughter on the weekends she is here. I have spent a lot of time in the hospital with my daughter by myself because my fiance works away Monday to Friday and we have his three other children every weekend. Because his last daughter is so difficult to manage she can only be looked after by us and if we are not available then her mother has to find appropriate care as his mother is very sick and cannot look after her and I live away from family with him so I don’t have the support system available. My daughter was in the hospital 2 weeks ago on the weekend with my daughter and my fiance told the last mother that he wouldn’t be able to have her because he was in the hospital with my daughter. This weekend just gone by daughter was in hospital again because of her seizures but she got let out on the Saturday so we had his other daughter, this weekend she was again asked to have her daughter because my daughter was fitting bad and needed to be in hospital and he wanted to be with her otherwise I would have been on my own. The mother of his child then started to get really annoyed and make comments about how my daughter is taking priority over her child and that her child is missing out because of my daughter. I am alone all week and deal with my sick daughter by myself, I don’t get any help from anyone throughout the week so weekends are too my opportunity to get a break, but yet the daughter that she complains so much about needing a break from every weekend is the daughter who comes to my house and I have to deal with her challenging behavior. The only time I have ever asked my fiance for help is when my daughter has been in hospital. I went through a really traumatic birth and was in labor for 36 hours and had to have an emergency cesarean, the day after I spent alone in hospital because my fiance was at home with his other daughter as her mother said she shouldn’t be missing out spending time with him just because my daughter had been born. I just feel very stressed and overwhelmed with all of this! I feel like I’ve gotten the short end of the stick because of how much I have to deal with and all the issues of his other 3 children as well as the problems of my daughter. Thank you for reading. (From the UK)
I can certainly understand why you feel you have gotten the short end of the stick. It sounds like you have not felt supported, and yet have done your best to accommodate your stepchildren.
I think there are two things that might help. First, I would encourage you to have a much-needed conversation with your husband about what you may need from him. It sounds like there needs to be more coordination and joint thinking about the ongoing issues. With such pressing needs making ongoing plans for care is essential. Rather than seeing each situation as a crisis — it may be better to plan for a more organized and systematic response.
Secondly, it may be time to look into other services for help during the week. Making connections with the Epilepsy Society in your country as well as the Autism Society can give you access to resources and perhaps volunteers who could help.
I believe these two things may start to offer some ways of providing relief.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2019). Relationship Problems. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/09/30/relationship-problems-3/
Last updated: 29 Sep 2019 (Originally: 30 Sep 2019) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Sep 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.