Before Counselling

Before I get to our first counselling session last week, I want to fill you in (as briefly as possible) on how married life has been thus far…

Veruca was 5yrs old when I met No. 2 and 6yrs old when we got married. That first year of married life was more difficult that we could have ever prepared ourselves for. By then No. 2 and his daughter had spend most of her life alone together, while her mom was in-and-out of rehab. The only thing that No. 2 thought was necessary for him to do as a parent, was to make sure that his little girl was fed, was happy and had clean clothes to wear! I.e: She ran their household.

Before I could even start to be a mother to Veruca, I first had to explain to No. 2 why boundaries were important (and it had to be confirmed by the Physiologist who briefly treated Veruca), why she had to have a routine, why it was important for her to eat healthy and why it was not cute for him to give her a whole sausage roll and french fries to eat in one go! At age 5!! For goodness sake!

You see, most mothers struggle to get their children to eat at all, fearing that their children are too skinny. My problem is on exactly the opposite side of the scale – my step-daughter can eat a plate of food that I struggle to finish and then still ask for more!!

No. 2 didn’t always agree with me and couldn’t always see the need for change, but he at least agreed to try it out. We were able to slowly introduce healthier eating habits, bed-time routines and boundaries. We suffered a lot of tantrums, shouting, screaming and crying from Veruca. The issues she has with her mom in rehab obviously also played a big part in her behaviour. We had lots of talks with her, gave many hugs through the tears and offered lots of love.

By year two our family was more stable and Veruca was a joy to raise. Yes, she was still very strong willed – but so am I.  It was still very hard for No. 2 to let me deal with Veruca when she was defiant or unruly. But by year three he realised that we get along far better without his interference. That was a big step for us! Veruca and I were like two peas in a pod! Inseparable!

But: There were still many instances where No. 2 would override me in front of Veruca, where he would cut himself off from me when we had a disagreement and then give all his attention to Veruca, leaving me alone. Almost like a deliberate act of rejection. I never truly felt part of their lives. Unfortunately No. 2 has only confirmed my belief with his actions. Although he has verbally denied it many times and told me that he loves us both but in different ways and that there is no competition between us, I was not persuaded.

I often felt like the nanny – only good enough to care for my step-daughter. When she gets upset about anything, it must be my fault. Right?
When she is happy, I get love from my husband.
When she is upset, I am rejected by my husband.

My step-daughter became the third person in my marriage.
Cruelgabi Cruelgabi
36-40, F
3 Responses Jan 23, 2013

The strain between husband and wife when a bonus is involved is strenuous. And let me just tell you that I understand how it is having the bonus live with you. That was the hardest part of my marriage. I hate to say this but I'm so happy he will be 18 next year!


I am a childless stepmom (early 30's).

As for competition it will feel that way, but I think as women who date/marry men with children we know we will never come first. As for him overriding your opinion in parenting when your the one being the 'nanny' most of the time is ridiculous. Marriage and parenthood is a partnership and obviously something you all should go over in couples therapy as well as family therapy.

I don't know how my family therapy worked for us. My bonus (stepson) sat quietly my husband was angry at him and I was embarrassed at both their behavior. Therefore I think if you work on your personal relationship with your husband first you both will be able to take an impartial look at how Veruca is being disciplined.

Another thing that comes to mind is something you see a lot with single mothers and their sons. They begin to treat them as 'boyfriends' 'the man of the house.' It sounds like this is the relationship your husband and bonus daughter has. [not an incestual but theoretical]

All I can say is good luck after 8years I still wonder where my place is.

You are doing good things for the stepdaugther, great. Your marrage is important try and take a mom and dad night out alone once or twice a month to reconnect and remind No. 2 that although you both love the daughter dearly you also have emontional needs that need to be filled to keep your marriage happy.