I resent my boyfriend's daughter. How can I change?

Alizabeth - posted on 07/13/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My boyfriend and I have a 16month old daughter. When I met him, he had a 2 (now 5 1/2 yr) year old daughter with severe Autism. At the time it wasn't necessarily severe but not that she's 5 1/2 still non-verbal except some words it's classified severe. When him and I first met, and spent over a year just him and I and his daughter with Autism, it was a non-issue. She was (still is) awesome! I would have tons of fun with her, and I even became pro-active trying to find DAN doctors to help him and his ex steer in the right direction. Problem with that? I was passionate, he was passionate, his daughter's mother...not so much. I don't think she's a bad mom, she's just not a pro-active one and is content with the help her daughter is receiving, whether it's enough or not. Not my call. Anyway....his daughter and I had a pretty tight bond before we had a daughter of our own. But once we had our daughter, things changed. For one, I felt like I was expected to be all that I was toward my boyfriend's daughter with ASD while on top of being a first time new mom. I got overwhelmed, very fast, very easily. I started pushing his daughter away in hopes she would stop wanting ME and go for HIM instead. My intentions at first, were just that. I needed her to realize I can't help anymore like I used to (with meals, laying down w her at nap time/bed time, going outside every 5mins) and her dad was going to have to be her "new favorite" again. By the way...it's not that he wasn't involved when she was with it and I just did "everything" for her. He was. But like I said, girl to girl...we formed a close bond pretty fast. Moving on..... it got to a point where I started kind of lashing out at my boyfriend over her daughter for being too loud when our daughter was trying to nap, I felt he wasn't doing enough and just letting her bang around the house with no problem. When we first had our daughter, His daughter was in a hitting phase. Not to be violent or mean, but just an excitement thing. I was so nervous in the very beginning she would hit her new sister, which she did a couple times. I was scared she would get our baby sick, be too rough, etc. Therefore....my pushing her away ended up being successful. Unfortunately it's now to the point where her dad thinks I ignore her and that I'm a horrible person for doing so. I don't WANT to ignore her. My relationship with her dad isn't wonderful by any means, and when she's here with us, I'm uncomfortable being around the both of them. I feel like the outsider now. And I understand that's my doing...I just don't know how to fix it. He said something to me the other day that really hurt me, and it was "Someone asked me Jane* calls you because she has a name for everyone else". I don't know what his response was...but to me, it was Nothing and he says it's because I ignore her. I feel it's a combination of that and no one teaching her or repeating my name. I mean, my name is maybe said once or twice each weekend IF that. To our daughter I'm mama. In my mind when you're trying to teach a child to call someone something you say "Can you say, Mama? Mama. Mama. or Dada. Dada. Dada." and after practice they catch on. I know for a fact no one does this with her with my name. But maybe it is because our relationship has shifted? I don't want to ignore her, but I don't know how to be that good female figure I used to be for her, with her dad around, and with the high demands still of Our daughter. Suggestions?

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Ev - posted on 07/13/2013

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Also, as you know, a child with Autism needs concentrated structure and it takes work. Also, once they attach to people its so much harder on them when that person starts to move away from them. And these kids with severe Autism do not really understand or know any better. That bond you had with her got broken when you tried to lesson your time with her and pushed her away. I can understand the worry about how she would be around a baby and all, but she did not get it when you started to push away. My suggestion is to work with her everyday with her dad and without her dad present. You have to show him too that you want to be a part of her life. If it is also possible include her in helping with the baby such as handing you a diaper or other things you might need if she is able to understand to do that. WHen baby naps, instead of pushing her away, use that time to spend with her doing things you used to do. Also, talk to your man about this and your feelings in a calm manner. It could save what you have with them both.

Alizabeth - posted on 07/13/2013

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I agree. And I am trying. Any spare time I get with her when her dad's not around I feel like I'm over compensating and she's probably looking at that as weird.

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2013

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How confusing for his daughter. At first you made sure she was everything to you and then she gets pushed aside when you have your own child.
I think you need to make sure you spend time with her again just the 2 of you. Leave the baby with Dad and get that bond back.
She would also be seeing the baby as the reason for you not "liking" her anymore.

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