Do we ALWAYS have to be the adults?

[deleted account] ( 2 moms have responded )

Ok, here's the dish - My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we have 8 children, yes 8 scary I know. The oldest two are my stepdaughters, 17 and 19. They both live with us now, even though the oldest has bounced around from her mom's to aunts/uncles/grandparents back to mom's and when she turned 18 to us. She is starting college but still living at home to be able to get Pell grants. I am actually fine with all this. Her mother is noncommunicative to us, hates us basically, we are evil and always wrong, so it is better we just don't communicate.

Ashlee, my stepdaughter, never sleeps at home anymore. There are all kinds of excuses, the house is too noisy, she can't study, her room is too cold, she is an adult and wants to spend time with friends, etc. She comes home briefly during the day to get clothes and then is gone again. I am sick of being treated like a hotel. My husband tried to talk to her about it and it turned into a big confrontation, eventually everything calmed down and they talked and my husband says he feels really good now about how everything is.

OK, the problem for me is that she completely disregards me, I still get the "you're not my mom" whenever I try to join in a conversation between her and my husband. She never speaks to me at all except to ask when her dad will be home, or what's for dinner. After all the years of marriage and sacrifice for her and her sister, who is wonderful by the way and no problems there, I am just tired of being treated like an outsider in my own home. My husband is wonderfully supportive, knows how I feel, and talks to Ashlee about it and tells her she needs to make more of an effort. She says she will, but then I never see or hear any difference.

My husband told me this morning, in a very nice way, that he thinks I should just call or text her and just tell her that I am not upset and that I do really want to try to get along - basically make the first move. My problem is that I have been pushed away and disregarded so many times I just don't know if I can. I won't mean it right now, and I really don't know what to say to her anymore, I know I probably should but is it always really MY responsibility to make the first move?

I sound really whiny right now, I know, I just don't know if I can reach out to her right now and have it actually be sincere.

Questions? Comments? Advice?
Thanks :)

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[deleted account]

I agree with Rebecca- firstly you have done all you can. Secondly, I was once advised by a counsellor that sometimes it's better to just withdraw (not ignore) and let them sort their own issues. And this is exactly what it is -HER issue not yours. The counsellor told me I have to find a way to accept that although it FEELS personal and directed to me- it's not actually about me at all it's about her own stuff. Not easy I know but when I can make myself remember that it feels less raw.

Rebecca - posted on 02/17/2010

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Just wait til your ready and find the time to just be with her. If you are sincere she will feel it. Tell her that the whole family suffers when there is any friction between anyone in your large family. The situation will get better when she finally moves and will miss all that you do for the family. A good start to the conversation might be just to ask her to help you prepare dinner. Standing in the kitchen working together without having to have direct eye contact. Tell her you just want the best for her and not being able to talk with her makes that harder for you to show. God Bless and Good Luck!

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