What to do about a truly pshychotic stepdaughter?

Olga - posted on 07/12/2011 ( 49 moms have responded )

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My 21 year old stepdaughter, has taken pillows off my bed, and then left the pillowcases in the closet, taken my razor and left it on top of my computer bag, sprayed the oven with oven cleaner and left it for me to turn on when I started cooking. She is truly trying to make me leave her Dad. Did I say my husband will not stand up to her? He is a wonderful man otherwise, but his daughters can do and always have whatever they want. The youngest to me is dangerous, but he does not want to hurt her by confronting her. The only thing I can do is leave, but that would mean she wins. Help!

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Jane - posted on 07/12/2011

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It shouldn't be about winning or losing. It should be about whether your husband values you as his wife. Is he aware that you believe your choices are to live with constant worry or to leave him?

Although I must admit, so far her doings seem simply to be pranks. Now if she embedded razor blades in your pillows so you could get cut when you lie down, I would worry more. She seems to be jealous and spoiled, not psychotic. And I know psychosis, because I have a son who has suffered from it. He is nowhere as subtle as your stepdaughter is.

And why is a 21 yo old at home and not at university or working?

I think you need to set up some alone time with your husband and let him know how you feel and what you think your alternatives are. See if there is something he would be willing to do to help the girls understand that you are off-limits.

Alexia - posted on 07/12/2011

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I don't think giving your husband an ultimatum is going to help the situation. How can he possibly choose between his wife and his daughters, and he shouldn't have to. That is making the issue his and his alone.
I think the best thing to do would be to all sit down as a family and let everyone have their turn to talk and express how they are feeling and why there is resentment between his daughter and you. It could be something simple, or it could be something you need the help of a counsellor for, but either way, clearing the air is the best approach in my opinion.
Obviously things cannot go on as they are, but I don't think you should be forced to end your marriage over something that should be able to be sorted out.
Good luck :)

Misty - posted on 07/13/2011

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Well, at first, I thought that she is just being spiteful. But after you mentioned that she poisoned your dog, put dead maggots under your hand towel, etc... I think it's safe to say there is something wrong with her. I agree with a previous post, you could set up a "nanny cam" and try to catch her in the act. But the question is, if you do, what is dear old daddy going to say about it? Will he finally listen to you or will he resent you for spying on her? It's a tough call. If she really did poison your dog, then there's no telling what she could or would do to you. I know you shouldn't have to give up your marriage over the evil stepdaughter, but it may be a better choice than giving up your life. I'm not saying that it's going to go that far, but based on what you've said she has already done, there is no telling what she will do next. I tried coming up with some immediate advice on what to do.. i'm sorry.. I just can't. I know if it were me personally, I would leave, even if just a temporary separation. Maybe then your husband will see that there really is a problem. If he lets you walk away and he doesn't chase after you, then keep walking and don't turn back. You will find something better! Good luck!!!

[deleted account]

she may have an undiagnosed mental problem. she should be seen by a shrink. how recent is this behavior, always been something like this or something new? you could put in a nanny cam, let it run for a while while your in the house and then on vacation. maybe your husband just needs to see it in a live feed to understand what is going on better.

Charlie - posted on 07/13/2011

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Sorry I fail to see how that is psychotic ...messy , possibly touching things she shouldnt but psychotic ? dont think so.

I am a little confused as to why these seemingly annoying but simple things would be grounds to leave ( or be so angry to the point you would label her psychotic)

Perhaps there is more to the story if you would care to share but if this is it then set some ground rules , make her stick to it or make HER leave ...she is an adult.

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Olga - posted on 07/14/2011

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Naomi, I think in all the times I was trying to be understanding I really lost the fact that yes I am an adult too. I would never let my children get away with any of this behavior and I should not allow it even if my husband does. I have been allowing my fear of what she is capable of get the best of me. Time for me to stand up and stop waiting for my husband to. Thank you!

[deleted account]

She has poisoned my dogs. I had to send them to live with my Ex-husband for their safety. She put dead maggots under my hand towel

Why didn't you mention this way more serious stuff in your original post?

Duff - posted on 07/13/2011

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1. Tell your husband to grow a backbone, she won't know limits until they are set
2. She shouldn't be allowed in your house if she chooses to disrespect it, or the both of you
3. If she poses a danger to anyone, including herself she should have herself checked by a psychiatrist.

Misty - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody, I understand you are going through your own problems. But I really don't think it's fair to put Olga's issues on the side and bring your own issues front and center on HER thread. You said that the world doesn't care about her situation. Well, with 47 posts and counting, I beg to differ. Looks to me like Olga has a lot of moms showing her empathy and respect, as well as offering her advice, myself included. As I said before, if you want to bring your problems to our attention, then please feel free to start your own thread. Let me know when you do and i'll try to follow yours as well and I will listen to your side of the story. In the meantime, I see no reason why we shouldn't believe Olga when she claims that the stepdaughter is doing the outrageous things that she says she's doing. I wish you the best with your mental illness and I hope you find peace within yourself as well as your sister-in-law.

[deleted account]

between us my partner and i have 8 children.
my stepdaughter doesn't live at home but she was making me miserable with some of the things she was doing and saying.
i did let her upset me; then i thought hang on; she is his child but she is an adult and if an adult were treating me bad i would tell them to grow up.....that's what i did
i told her she doesn't have to like me but her father and i are very happy together and she will have to learn to deal with that.
she is now polite when i do see her but she still doesn't like me!!

Amy - posted on 07/13/2011

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This may sound harsh but you stated that "his daughters can do & always have whatever they want"...so his behavior &/or reaction to his daughters is nothing new. Therefore, this shouldn't surprise you. Unfortunately, you signed the dotted line knowing this & accepted him (along with his daughters) for better, for worse. I agree, there can't be an ultimatum. You will lose. They were there before you. I have two stepdaughters & I thought long & hard before marring a man with kids. You can NEVER make a father choose between his "new" wife & his children. Have his daughters always been this way towards you??? If not, you should have a sit down with him & possibly directly to the daughter treating you this way.

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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Yes, Jody, I read your post. It still has nothing to do with Olga's problem. You need to start a new conversation, not hijack Olga's.

Jody - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jane, Did u not read any of the post about my SIN?? She made nasty lies and stories of such as Olga has about her step daughter!!! SO i understand Olgas step daughter!!! Olga, talk to ur husband about this issue rahter than teh ariwaves of teh internet!! The wrold dnt care if u cant get along with ur new family members!! If my step daughter sprayed oven cleaner in my oven, i wdve called the police and made a report!! Then if you are concearned abouther having a mental issue, u cd take that report to the prosecuters office and have her involunteerly commited!!I honestly wd do that if i was u!! That wd fit right under the "trying to hurt others" category!!! I am sorry if i have offended or hurt you Olga!! But all teh things u were sayuing sounded like the things my sister in law was trying to do to me!! I do believe u wd have a case!!! I am not saying all this to be sarcastic!!I In my area there is a special prosecuter for involunteery committals and deals with this day after day!!!! AS with the maggots, i cant stand maggots, not many do so i think there has to be something weird with that!! As with teh pillows, i thinkthat was just childishness!!! But teh oven spray, the whole family, even Daddy wdve been affected!! Sounds like areal problem!!

Misty - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody, I don't know the story, you really haven't said much about it. We know the jist of Olga's dilemna. I don't know what your sister-in-law would gain from talking trash about you. Most likely, she would gain nothing other than her own pleasure of making you look bad. But as I said, I don't know the story between the two of you.

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody - What does your sister in law have to do with Olga and her stepdaughter?

Jody - posted on 07/13/2011

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OK then Misty, what does my sister in law have to gain by accusing me of shit???

Cheri - posted on 07/13/2011

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Does your husband know these things she does? Most of it sounds more annoying than dangerous, but not good not matter which way you look at it. If your hubby knows of the things she does and still will not do anything, it sounds like you do not have much choice but to leave. If not, make it clear and then see what he does. How was her behavior prior to your marriage?

Misty - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody, it sounds to me like you're letting your hatred for your sister-in-law influence your judgment on Olga's matter. Why would she fabricate such a wacked out story regarding her stepdaughter? Think about it, what would she have to gain by doing so? Do you think she woke up yesterday and thought, "Today, i'm going to come up with this totally insane story about my wonderful stepdaughter, whom I love very much, and post it on circleofmoms.com, just to see what kind of responses I can get?" I very highly doubt it. No matter what the mental issue is, or if there is one at all, the adult-child is emotionally abusing her stepmother. Furthermore, i'm flabbergasted that you actually posted a comment about how bad you have it since you "hate" your sister-in-law. This is Olga's post. We're giving her advice. If you want advice on your own mental issues and those of your sister-in-law, then by all means, post your own question. I'm sure we would all LOVE to hear about YOUR problems and then give YOU advice.

Iona - posted on 07/13/2011

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well if he doesnt want you to confront her then he should do it, if he doesnt confront this problem now it might not be just you that is in danger. shes gonna end up in jail if shes not careful. can she not go live with her mum? or have her mum have a word with her, she clearly feels threatened that your gonna take her dad off her and needs help

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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To clear a few things up:

Psychosis = People experiencing psychosis may report hallucinations or delusional beliefs, and may exhibit personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behavior, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out the daily life activities.

Psychopathy = a personality disorder characterized by the inability to form human attachment, and an abnormal lack of empathy, masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal.

Someone who is psychotic does not seem normal at all. Someone who is psychopathic can seem perfectly normal but will do terrible things. OTOH someone who is emotionally immature and severely jealous will behave exactly as the stepdaughter has been doing.

Olga's use of the word psychotic to describe her stepdaughter's behavior is not accurate. It sounds more as if the stepdaughter is immature, overly attached to her dad, and suffering from extreme jealousy. You can read more about it at http://www.livestrong.com/article/153925...

At this stage, since she is an adult, probably the best solution would be counseling for the whole family if she is willing to go. This would have the goal of teaching you how to respond, teaching your husband that this is what is going on and how he needs to act to stop it, and possibly make your stepdaughter realize that she may lose her father if she persists. This is something that ideally should have been caught years ago, when the girl was much younger. Now, she will change only once she realizes that her life will improve greatly if she does.

My nephew's daughter is very open about the fact that she won't let her dad have any girlfriends, and she behaves badly toward them. However, she is only 7 years old. At 21, the stepdaughter has a deeper problem that needs treatment.

Rachel - posted on 07/13/2011

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She is 21? Not a child. Time for her to grow up. Might be time to draw a line with daddy. At 21 this girl should get it together, or move out.

Korah - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody im sure there is another side and i understand that you see this as personal but it does truly sound like some late rebellion thing going on trying to get her fathers ultimate focus. also remember she is calling what she is doing phscotic as far as ive read she has not been diagnosed so it is not like she is saying this because she can blame it on someone who has an illness.

Korah - posted on 07/13/2011

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Olga i do not think you are exaggerating at all. I am unsure on how to resolve and yes some kind of real communication would be good even if there has to be a third party some one who would be very neutral. idk and seriously id end up calling the cops. but i mean you would have to have some sort of evidence i guess.

Jody - posted on 07/13/2011

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I am sorry if you are goin thru this!!! It has to be hard, but we are only getting your side of the story!! I have a sister in law that sayes shit about me and accuses me of shit i never even wd do!! All because i have a mental illness!!I feel shes mental herself!! But shes too "smart" too be mentally ill!! She thinks menally ill ppl are retarded!!! I have dealt with her accusations since march 16 85!!! I hate her!!! SO if you can imagine what i am goin thru!!! I live an hour away from her and no mjr problems in the last 7 years!! Thank god!!

Korah - posted on 07/13/2011

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Yo people she is here for support not for you to rip her apart please be sensitive about her. I applaud her for seeking support thats why we are all here no? If you are bothered by it dont read any further. But dont post nasty things. And I am totally sure that if she felt she could get her S.D. help she would but it sounds she is limited here. My mother remarried and my step dad has a son who is mentally ill def. but yet remains un diagnosed cuz my step dad denies it and sees him as normal but clearly to everyone around he is not. my pastors have encouraged my step dad to seek him help but my step dad denies it. so it is NOT clear cut. Please think about it things are not always black and white

Olga - posted on 07/13/2011

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I do appreciate the fact that anyone would beleive I am exaggerating. I would not have believed most of it myself. I am asking for advice because my children, while we have disagrements all find a way to communicate without deceit and hatefulness. I am not used to such erractic behavior. If someone has encountered a stepchild that does horrible things to the step parent I would be interested to know how it was resolved.

Korah - posted on 07/13/2011

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i would talk to hubby for sure and let him know the locks will be changed and that she either grow up and get a life or she dont get a key end of story. if he has a problem putting her in her place then id leave for a while to allow him to think bout it. he should tell her 'this is my wife and i love her i love you too BUT you will not treat her this way im sorry you are having issues with me not being with your mother but you will respect her as she has done you or you need to leave and find a place to live. I can not have you disrespect her in this mannor. this is not up for discussion. you are being childish and as so you will be treated as a child if you wanna be treated as an adult then you will act like one. ' i mean she is 21 !!!!!! i am 25 and was a child who had a parent remarry and NEVER acted like this. this is RIDICULOUS!

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jody I have worked in mental health for 17years and believe me I have seen many many different scenarios. What secondary gain would Olga get by posting her dilema on a mums support site where her step daughter is unlikely to access?

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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Should a balanced view based on the information given be the priority? Olga is asking for advice not a personality anihilation. Mental illness or no mental illness there is no excuse what is important is right and wrong. Olga has a right to be protected and the young girl has a right to be protected from upping the ante where she finds herself in serious trouble. A family is in chaos is this not about support towards keeping all concerned safe and a family from splintering further?

[deleted account]

While her step-daughter's behavior is indeed not normal, she seems to be complaining only of the friction her behavior is causing her marriage. Isn't this a forum for mother's and parenting? As such I believe all of our responsibilities lie first in seeking help for our children ("adult" or not!) This in turn will surely help the entire family.

Jenn - posted on 07/13/2011

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Hostile, indeed! Rude too!

If the 21 yr old has not been diagnosed as psychotic, then like any other situation, the OP needs to take control of her own life. If the step daughter has been diagnosed with mental illness, her father needs to deal with the situation and the OP still needs to take control of her own life! If it is dangerous and the husband does nothing, get away from it! If the daughter does something criminal or dangerous, call the cops!

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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Wow no need to get hostile....I really don't think she's whining.....she is asking for advice!!! If you read it says her step daughter and there for it isn't her responsibility to get the adult help....she's supposed to be a friend to her and I think she has tried to do that thank you =(

Misty - posted on 07/13/2011

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Perhaps you didn't read her second post? This 21 year old "adult" child has gone as far as poisoning her dog and placing dead maggots in her bathroom. You think she's whining and that she doesn't have real problems? There are many different types of mental illness. You should know the differences since your child has an illness as well. If this is normal to you, then perhaps your child isn't the only one with an illness. You shouldn't be offended because she called HER own stepdaughter psychotic, from what she has said, the girl is either psychotic or just pure evil.

[deleted account]

As a mother of an "adult" with mental illness (yes, technically 21 IS an adult, but still very young) I take offense to your calling your step-daughter psychotic. Has she been diagnosed with any mental disorders? Maybe you should be using your time to get her the help she needs instead of name calling and whining to people with real problems.

Suzanne - posted on 07/13/2011

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Boy she needs help! Obviously acting out, is she close with her mom? What is her relationship with her? Does your husband see first hand what she is doing or are you telling him? He is her father and without his support you are dead in the water. He needs to lay down the law, if the marriage is worth saving counseling is in order, for everyone.

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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This is most definitely not psychotic phenomena. There is a premeditated series of events here which indicates intent and control quite a lethal and worrying combination. This girl is responsible for her behaviour and sadly it would seem learned behaviour from her mother. I suspect some borderline personality traits here. It could be a way of testing, controlling, manipulating but certainly abusing. She is emotionally abusing you. Ask the question why do you choose to stay if you are so unhappy? Address her maladaptive behaviours directly and after each incident in a non confrontational way as i suspect if she gets an angry negative response it will qualify and justify her behaviour towards you. Don't continue to be a victim in your own home. Remember ask her why does she choose to stay. Good luck I wish you well x

Sandra - posted on 07/13/2011

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You need to sit down with your children and husband. Ya'll are a family and all families have problems. if you are so easy to throw your hands up your in the same boat as the daughter. It's time for a good long family talk. Stand your ground but you may have to give a little to make a compromise or just kick her out.

Casey - posted on 07/13/2011

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You need to have a discussion with your husband so you can present an united front on the matter. My guess is that her type of behavior is a pattern that has been happening within your family dynamic for some time. Unless there is more happening than you've mentioned she doesn't seem like "psychotic" only that she is acting out trying to get your attention.



Think about what you really want out of your relationship with your husband. If you want to stay with him then you may need to seek out some additional help to give you the tools to have the discussions needed with him. If you do that and he is not willing to change then you aren't a victim — you have a choice, but the bottom line is that they are his kids and they relationship they have together needs to be changed by him.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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I think you have done a good job.....and I don't think your wrong by calling her a psycho! Who does that? At 21 yrs old she should have a life of her own and not interfere in her grown fathers relationship!!! I don't think anyone should have to put up with this at all...your husband needs to give her a choice; deal with it or leave. She's 21 and needs to grow up. The sick thing is she probably will never change and I wouldn't put up with it and your husband shouldn't expect u to =)

Olga - posted on 07/13/2011

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I cannot list all the things she has done. She has poisoned my dogs. I had to send them to live with my Ex-husband for their safety. She put dead maggots under my hand towel. She has gone into my closet and change my hangers. I use white. They were on multi colored hangers, when I returned from a trip. Seemingly annoying, but from what my husband says this is what his ex used to do to him and then tell him he must be losing it. I did not know that prior to marrying him. She is following her mother's footsteps. I also want to say I have never said one bitter word to her. I have asked her to talk to me if something is wrong. I have offered to go to family counseling with her for the anger in her. We have had family talks, but she said I should not speak since I am not her family. I want what is best for all of us. No one should go through life with those many angry thoughts, but I do not want to go through life worrying about the next occurence.

Shelly - posted on 07/13/2011

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Wow! I assume you've had a very serious talk with your husband about this. Leaving is not an option. He needs to step up and deal with his daughters behavior if he wants to keep his marriage to you. Your stepdaughter is an adult and should be treated like one. If she cannot behave like an adult in your house then she needs to start looking for a new place to live!

Evgenija - posted on 07/13/2011

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If I were in your shoes, I'd let this "little' 21-year old girlie wash up, clean, wash the clothes, iron and cook for this otherwise 'wonderful man' for... let's say about 3-4 weeks and get a vacation.... Moral: She'll beg you to come back!

[deleted account]

has taken pillows off my bed, and then left the pillowcases in the closet, taken my razor and left it on top of my computer bag, sprayed the oven with oven cleaner and left it for me to turn on when I started cooking.

Are you sure these aren't misunderstandings of some kind?

They don't seem psychotic to me.

Morgan - posted on 07/13/2011

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Sit ur hubby down and tell him exactly how u feel, wat u expect from him in regards to the kids, and wat u both need to do about the kids. Also sit the kids down seperately and find out exactly wats going on in their heads, wat they want from u, wat u want from them, and how to resolve it together peacefully. Respect goes both ways

Mandy - posted on 07/12/2011

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leave! trust me if he truly wanted you he would not put up with her your safty is first they are adult!

Fiona - posted on 07/12/2011

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Wow! 21 & still behaving this way, sounds like Daddy's little girl needs a reality check! As much as I would like to suggest to play hardball & say that at 21 she either learns to behave or finds elsewhere to live..... this may just create more problem & should probably be a last resort. You may not be able to get her to counselling, but you can go yourself & get some advice on how to not only deal with her but how to cope yourself. It's not a choice between yourself & your stepdaughter, it's about harmoney for all & her learning the correct way to deal with her feelings. She sounds like a very troubled girl.

Firebird - posted on 07/12/2011

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Well, I would hardly consider hiding pillowcases as "truly psychotic". Psychosis is a very serious mental illness. Calling her that to her face would undoubtedly make the situation worse. I agree with Jodi, she's acting like a spoiled little child, and your husband needs to put her in her place.

Schyla - posted on 07/12/2011

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change the locks on the door and put up a sign that says only sain people will be admited. Tell your husband that it's your home now too and you get a say in how people treat you and you can choose to have whomever you like in your home and if he allows his child to keep misbehaving then he will be finding a pillow and blanket waiting for him on the couch until he dose something if this child is still living with her father leave a bag outside the door and then do not bend set your boundaries and stick to them at 21 she needs to grow up.

Jodi - posted on 07/12/2011

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Well, I think I'd be giving my husband an ultimatum. Either he deals with this, or I leave. Honestly, she is ACTING like a child, she can be treated like a child. Right now, you are being made to feel unwelcome in your own home. This is unacceptable. Either she can have some respect that this is your home too, or she can get out.

I wouldn't put up with it. Time for your husband to man up.

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