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Adult stepdaughters making my life a misery
March 15, 2014
3:01 am
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Stepmom
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March 15, 2014
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I have a husband older than I, we have been married for twenty years now.  It is a second marriage for both of us and we have been very happy. I have a son; he has four daughters from our previous marriages.  During the last seven years my husband has suffered from Dementia, and eventually I could not manage to look after him at home any longer. He has had to go into a care home I have a great problem now with two of my stepdaughters.

I shall call them daughters 1,2,3,4. which range from 54 to 60.  I get on fine with daughters 1 and 4, who are happily married with families.

Daughter 2, has always had problems, she had a child at 16, has been married twice but is unable to sustain relationships, has been supported financially by her father (my husband) who bought her a house, and she is rather inadequate and is dedicated to alternative health and medicine and is convinced that cannabis oil cures cancer, which she has. Needless to say, the cannabis oil has not cured her and she has reluctantly accepted conventional treatment, but is in complete denial about this and still insists that cannabis cures all cancers. She has never worked for a living, and declares that "Life is too short to have a job that you dont enjoy"  She was horrified when her father married me, and has virtually never seen him (for many years) until he has gone into the home; unless she wanted money, or for special occasions like Christmas. I have tried very hard to befriend her but she is very manipulative and tells lies. A short time ago she told me that all she cared about was her father's happiness, but as it was very clear that he and I loved each other very much and made each other happy I find this a strange statement.

Daughter 3, I used to get on fine with until her father had to go into a home. I have always thought of her as sensible and adult (at 58 that seems a reasonable assumption) if somewhat controlling, however she seemed to undergo some kind of personality transplant when it was clear that I could no longer look after her father by myself. She had planned to give up her uncongenial job, and live with us – for half the week – when her father needed extra help, but she never discussed this with me in any detail. Her father deteriorated very suddenly and it was obvious that our property was not adaptable for his needs, and that we could not afford the additional  round the clock home care. He went into respite care but the care home asked me to remove him as they could not mange him and I had around six days to find him a placement.  At this point she cut off communication with me completely, suggesting we move house (in a week) or have the equipment, a special bed, a live in carer (impossible)  and then when I tried to explain that it would not work, insisted that I had 'made up my mind' and refused to communicate with me further.

Since then the two hostile sisters have orchestrated a campaign of spite, lies and vilification which would be worthy of serious "school bullies". For instance they arranged an extended family Christmas party which in previous years I have arranged and paid for – but I was not invited. (The other two sisters have been supportive to me)  I am trying to ignore their childish activities but it is very difficult. Having to deal with my own grief, depression, and guilt, for putting my husband in a home is bad enough, but with their manipulative and spiteful behaviour it is makingme ill. I cry every day.  I dread meeting them.

I recognise the same pattern of behaviour that I experienced as the co-dependent of an alcoholic many years ago; they send me conciliatory but untruthful emails, then when I respond, they do something to undermine me and laugh.  A couple of days ago the older one sent an cheery email to say she had sudddenly had a day off and would visit her father. I was going on the same day and said I would meet her there (having previously avoided her visits) In fact I had a message from the care home manager on the morning asking me to pass a message to my stepdaughter saying that she couldnt attend their meeting. The meeting had been organised by daughter 3 without telling me, a week before, so the email I had received was a lie, and I felt very angry and humiliated.  I decided to be conciliatory but when I suggested that it would help her dad if she could be more communicative she simply smirked and said "Maybe I dont want to"  This was a typical pattern of behaviour for both her and her sister (2)

I realise now that I am falling into the trap of co-depencency all over again. I am trying to please, going for the crumb of conciliation to be rejected and humiliated over and over. Yet I love my husband and he cannot defend me; if he knew what was going on he would be appalled at them.  I feel they are using him, but I can't understand why.  The younger daughter has always been blinded by her jealousy of me, but the older one was friendly. Of the four siblings, they are the ones who would be dependent on their inheritance, which is being used up to pay for the home. I cannot help but wonder whether this is the root cause of Daughter 3's hostility, but what can I do to protect myself from her attacks. To outsiders they are both charming, friendly and loving; I look like the deranged stepmom. I cannot walk away as we are inextricably linked; but I cant go on being defenceless. I need a strategy.

I do hope that all makes sense.

Help anyone? please!

March 15, 2014
8:37 am
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Hello Stepmom. I am in a similiar situation. My father is now in a locked alzheimers facility. He has two ex wives, step children and natural children. Lots of drama there. When a man goes from being a father, husband and provider to being unable to take care of himself it effects the people in his life in different ways. Not everyone has the knowledge, education or understanding to know how alzheimers impacts the person who is affected by it and the people who care about them. A person with alzheimers goes through this gradual role shift from being a responsible, productive, independent adult to being reduced to a dependent person. How this effects a persons loved ones is a very unique and personal experience. One thing is for sure is it causes stress and can bring out either the best or worst in people. Even the people who try their best to help eventually run out of resources and become exhaused. Taking care of a person with alzheimers as you know is very labor intensive. You can't leave them alone because they might wander out of the house, fall, etc. Someone has to be with them 24/7 making it impossible for the caregiver to take care of themself. 

You have a right to know what your limits are and what would be the best situation for your husband to get his needs met. Health care faciilities have round the clock staff that is awake, alert and on duty 24/7 to take care of a persons needs. They have special beds, special showers, can provide meals, activites etc. in a safe, secure environment. 

If you are being attacked you can seek out legal advice on what you can do to legally protect yourself and get a protective order. 

Does your husband have an advanced directive? Does your husband have a durable power of attorney for health care? 

There is a HIPPA law that protects your husbands medical information that prevents the health care facility from disclosing any information to his children. 

Unless your husband named his children as his durable power of health care you have the power to stop them from visiting him.

You can also call an ombudsman, adult protecitive services, an attorney for proper advice and guidance. 

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