I hope someone can help me with this. I have been married for five years and I have had disrespect from day one with the stepdaughters. I did not think this would happen since they are 30 and 33 years of age. I would ask my husband to talk to them about it and he would not. He told me that I was too quiet, not social and basically told me all of my faults because that’s what his daughters pointed out. They would put me down all the time. My husband said in his family they would yell at each other and then it would be over. I was just too quiet. One day I lost it and raised my voice when I was put down. Well, now I’m the worst person on this earth. I apologized for raising my voice. His daughter called me, and I thought she was going to accept my apology. She screamed at me and said that I did not apologize the right way. I wrote her a letter and explained that putting me down all the time hurt my feelings and I was sorry for raising my voice. Anyway, I had a nervous breakdown after that. She said that, she would not apologize to me because that would make her a bad person. My husband and his daughters are catholic. I have just turned Catholic. This is just a strange family to me. Is this the way most stepdaughters feel. They say I could never be anything to them. I thought we were supposed to be a family. Their mother died while they were in their teens. I really wanted to be there for them and was so surprised to find they didn’t want anything to do with me except to take care of their dad. They also disowned all their relatives on their mom’s side of the family. They have no relatives on the father’s side. I just don’t understand it.
I personally feel that you should give an apology this time, don’t talk about their faults (I can see from your post though that they have been illogical and discriminating), just tell them what you are sorry for, don’t raise your voice.
Offer a sincere friendship. See what happens. If they don’t accept it, leave it at that, eventually they may around, be willing to accept it then.
It’s quite clear that they are the cause of this, even if you raised your voice it’s because of what they did. Even so, this kind gesture will attempt to put aside everything.
I am sorry for your situation. It really seems as if you also have a problem in your marriage based on what you said. I will pray for you and your husband this must be so hard.
How to get someone to like you? Be kind, be polite, be Christ-like. Also, you may need to accept the fact that you will never be close to these women, this is painful but perhaps, true.
There are people in my life that I wish I was close to but I am not. I have had to learn (with God’s grace) to be content with a very cold but at least cordial relationship. We talk about the weather, we chat at Christmas and have polite small talk. This is how it is and I have to let it be. I may never be close with these family members, I may never have the heart-to-heart chats that I dream of. I have to learn to walk away when they get personal or rude. It is hard.
Pray for them, pray for your husband. I wish I had more to offer you, this situation sounds very complicated. God bless.
I wish I could say you should all try sitting down together to hash it out… I think your DH has to step in and make things better. What is the reason for their behavior? I would say he needs to get things straightened out. You should not tolerate any verbal abuse. I don’t get it, either. They’re adults and should have their own lives at this point.
This actually happened to my Mother when she remarried. My Step-fathers wife died of cancer when his daughter was in her late teens/early twenties…when Mom and Ed married she also was in her 30s and was very angry that Mom was trying to replace her Mother. No one could really understand why she felt this way as my Mother was not going to raise an adult and the SDs son never knew his actual grandmother.
Long story short, it took 5+ years for my SSister to come to terms that Daddy had another woman in his life and that he had someone new that he was spending his money on.
Mom and Ed have been married for 19 years and my SSister has grown quite fond of my mother over the last 10 years.
Be understanding and be patient, you will go through many trials with them, bear them out with dignity and grace, soon enough they will wear themselves out and discover that they admire your strength of will.
the situation has been going on for 5 yrs. they are adults. you are an adult, so your basic personalities and ways of communicating, resolving differences and reacting to events is not going to change. most of what is going on has to do with the daughters and their father, and their mother, and only tangentially relates to you, esp if you came on the scene after their marriage was over. If they blame you for events, whether or not you were at fault, they will not change their attitude based on anything you do or say.
Continue to treat them cordially but keep an emotional distance and do not try to break barriers they have erected. In public act as you would in a professional or business situation with difficult, demanding, emotionally immature clients or employers. Let the emotionalism stay on their side. Never complain, never explain. Apologize only when you have genuinely been in the wrong, do so immediately verbally, and in a short note if appropriate, then let it drop. do not allow either of them to milk the situation and draw it out.
you are in control only of your own emotions and reactions, and of your relationship with your husband, which is where your energies should be directed. If he consistently takes their side against yours (in a situation where there really are 2 sides) you need marriage counselling, so that he can manage the emotions and regrets about his family.
the sad fact is that what you are experiencing is part of the fallout of a second marriage, no matter what the circumstances were surrounding the first marriage. There was a family, a family was damaged, and the family members no matter how old chronologically will react and handle those events in their own way. There is no way the damage and its effects can be denied or ignored, and those entering into second marriages should receive counselling, support and advice on that reality before they marry, so I hope others benefit from your experience.
it does not matter if the first marriage ended due to death or divorce, even adult children as well as the spouses are going to have baggage to deal with–a lot of it has to do with guilt over their own actions or failures. In fact, I have been told and come to believe it is true, when people are angriest at someone else it is because they are conscious of guilt on their own part, and express it in that anger.
I agree with what Puzzleannie says. In addition, you might want to consider some individual counseling. It sounds like you are in a situation where you are treated poorly and don’t have the perspective that you might need to know your own worth and how to handle people who consistantly treat you with such a low regard.
what dulcie said
just got some fallout similar to this from daughter of a step-relation who died recently, and who is still hostile to his second wife. It emerged during his last painful illness (cancer) and her reactions, and treatment of him, that there was a lot of guilt over how her mother had been treated during her own illness many years ago. The father and daughter had never resolved real family problems dating from that time, the daughter tried to take over all the dad’s care and decision making (which belonged to his current wife) to cover her own guilt, namely because she had not had much contact with him in years. It is now playing out in battles over inheritance, although thankfully he left a living trust.
my guess is the angrier they are, the less it has to do with you personally, you are just in the way of their own problems
in answer to thread title, no, there is no way to make somebody like you, only a way to try to see Christ in them and learn to like something positive about them
Can you say “dysfunctional?”
I don’t have much to offer in the way of advice, but maybe my family’s story will encourage you?
My mother’s mother passed away when my mom was 30, and her father remarried within a year. My mom has four siblings, and the woman that Grandaddy married has 4 children. For many years, the relationship between all of them was cordial, but not warm by any means. My mom went out of her way to make sure that my siblings and cousins and I knew that Grandaddy’s wife (we call her “Nanny”) was NOT our Grandmother, despite the fact that we were all too young (or not yet born) when she passed away to have any real memory of her. I can’t imagine how hurtful this was to Nanny, but she always went out of her way to be kind to all of us and took an active interest in our daily lives. For years and years she just plugged away like this, just being sweet and never saying a word when mom would go on and on about how wonderful her mother was and how much she missed her, etc. For Christmas one year, Nanny even made my mother and her siblings beautiful scrapbooks filled with pictures of their mother and from their childhood. Another year she made them each quilts with scraps leftover from clothes and stuff my Grandmother had made. It took a great deal of time, and patience on Nanny’s part, but by the time Grandaddy and Nanny had been married for 15 years, we were a true “blended” family. My mom and her siblings became very close with their step-siblings, and always have holidays together. My Grandfather passed away last year, and they have all rallied around Nanny to make sure that she could continue to live at their ranch and that she has everything that she needs and is never lonely. I know that mom has since apologized to Nanny for telling us that she wasn’t our “real” Grandmother, and they have become very close friends - talking on the phone daily and see eachother at least once a week.
I don’t know if this helps you at all, but it is possible for adults to accept step-parents. It just takes time. Maybe even more time than it does for children? Maybe it would help if you spoke to them about their mother? I think that was the thing that first started to soften my mom’s heart towards Nanny.
I’ll say a prayer for you! God bless!
I would agree but so are most families that I know of including my own! I am so glad she found this website and came here for help from other Catholics. It is so hard to know what to do sometimes.