Depressing Stepfather

Hi everyone. I'm 15 years-old, and I consider myself to be a good student and a good kid. I always do my best to make my parents happy. My bio parents split up when I was about 3, and I still remember it until today. I understand, though. Both my parents are great people and I respect them very much. They both have good education and jobs, being able to work their way up from rags to riches.

Anyway, I'm living with my mom. My parents used to have joint custody and I saw my bio dad often, but now mom has sole custody and I don't see him that much. It's fine. I get to call him everyday. I live with my stepdad, older sister (17), and younger half-brother, who I love very much. My stepdad is generally a good guy, when he's happy he's really nice to me.

But when he's in a bad mood, he makes my life hell, and I feel like I live in a load of ****. He's practically a perfectionist, and he blows up if I do a small mistake. He's also hot-tempered and impatient, and my siblings and I get the worst if we don't do things promptly and how he wants it to be. One small insult or offense to him is worse. We can't diplomatically point out his wrongdoings. If we do, he starts screaming and accusing us of stuff we never did. Like, he yelled at my sister about something and told her she would be a **** when she grew up, and she yelled back that she just wanted to get out of this horrible family. And then he started acting like she was the most mean and evil person in the world, and that she started the whole thing first.

We all try to make him happy again and try to talk soft and nice to coax him into not being angry is because we're scared that he'll take our dogs away. He always threatens to do that when we don't make him happy, and he has almost done it several times. But then he stops when we get him happy again. Don't get me wrong, he treats the dogs great. If it weren't for protecting the dogs, I would've made a war against him. I'm not a person who's going to just sit there and let him treat me like dirt, especially since my mom actually isn't really fond of him (doesn't like how he's so uneducated and immature, the reason why she married him is a long story) and WILL jump in to protect me if I tell her everything he's done to me and my siblings (and he's afraid of her, cuz she's the big boss money-maker while he....can't even type properly on a keyboard). I don't tell my mom, though, because later he starts getting happy again and I don't want to get him kicked out of the house, not knowing if he's just going through "occasional lapses".

He's really lowered my confidence, big time. When I still got equal time with my dad, he barely got involved in "disciplining" me, so I was able to bask in the spoiling of both my awesome parents (believe me, it's awesome), and my personality is kinda funny and tomboyish, which is totally against my stepdad. That's why he can't stand me, tries to control me into being how he likes me to be, and if he can't, says that I ruined his life and it's because of me that he's so depressed and acts like a martyr. I really feel angry about this, because I'm just the child victim going through my parent's separation and new marriage, and I did NOTHING to him. I don't tell my mom that he's a meanie or I want her to leave him for good. He's the one who's doing stuff to ME. Now, I cringe whenever I'm about to do something, not knowing whether I'm going to accidentally do the wrong thing and make him angry, and when I hear his footsteps my heart beats a bit. My mom, who's a bit cocky, is really upset that I'm not confident anymore and is angry at me for it. I just want to tell her it's because of the man she married, but I just suffer it in silenc.e

This really makes me miss my dad, who's like your normal, supporting father: he's patient, and if I do something wrong, he points it out and gives me the correct punishment. He never raises his voice, and is always encouraging and proud of me. He loves me. Sometimes when I'm crying and locking myself in my room, I imagine life with him if he had sole custody of me instead of mom. I don't know how, but my dad had a feeling that I would go through depressing moments. He told me to always call him if I was in the bathroom crying my eyes out, for he'd be there for me. I never understood why he said that, but now I do.

Sorry if my post was a bit scattered and confusing, but I just finished crying and my emotions aren't in control yet. I just need encouragement and advice :). Thank you everyone!
Noelle15 Noelle15
13-15, F
3 Responses Dec 5, 2012

Sounds like a jerk to me!

I don't know if you ever come back to check this, Noelle, but you're a really smart kid - not just in how capably you express yourself, but in your grasp of the situation and your ability to contain yourself within it. You're in a hard position right now - being 15 (when you wrote this!) and dependent on your mom & stepdad (even if your mom is the earner, and she tries to side with you, you are still tied to your stepdad through her and their decision to be together)... these things makes it difficult to improve this situation yourself. And teen years are hard enough as it is!!
My advice would be to just hold on, knowing that you will not be in this situation for ever.
You say he has lowered your confidence - so try not to let his voice become the voice in your head, and do continue to enjoy and be proud of the funny and tomboyish aspects of your personality! He says wild things like how you are the reason that he is depressed... and you know this is bull. He might realise that too, if he were able to face up to what is really troubling him. Hopefully some day he will. But that's his responsibility. And your only job is to mind yourself.
Pretty much everyone I know (I'm 30) struggles with issues & problems - although some people don't even realise that they are struggling! You, however, sound well-grounded and like you will get through this tough time.
You're doing great, Noelle. Hang in there, and as time goes on, you will be in better and better a position to create the kind of life and relationships you want.

I married a woman 8 years ago with 2 young boys, both with bad cases of ADHD. For the first year things were pretty good. Then I grew more and more angry, especially once my own biological son was born. I feel anger when i can't afford to get my own child what i want him to have or put him in the school I'd like because I support the 3 children and my wife. I feel like they, and by they I really just mean my two step children, need to be sooooooooooo thankful for anything I get them, but I don't feel that way for my biological son. For him I just want him to know it's because i love him.

How the hell did this happen to me? I was always the mellow, easy going guy. The child inside me really wants to kick my own ***. I look at what i do or how I act and it makes me feel ugly. I step away sometimes and acknowledge this isn't their fault. I tell them how sorry i am and that these are my demons, they don't deserve it, I care so much about them, etc... Then a week later, rinse and repeat the whole ******* routine. I want to change so bad, and when i read a post like yours it makes me really dislike your step father. I'd like to kick his ***....But then the mirror pops up. Wow, that looks like me in too many ways.

I see my oldest stepchild's low self esteem and confidence and I just know i make it worse. I have gone to him several times now and told him that he is a great kid and full of potential. i have told him that he deserves better and to please realize he can do anything and if he had a better father, his real dad used to beat him and his mom (But I'm referring to myself when i say he deserves better) he would feel better about himself as he should and to not let having a dickhead for a stepfather ruin his potential. We do really good for a few days...then i slowly transform back into an ugly person i hate until i start getting too mad for too small of reasons and over punish and say things too harsh and downright untrue and undeserving to him. Then I hate myself in the garage for a couple of hours and work up the courage to admit it is ALL my fault and not his. My angers, i have begun to realize, are all just my fears and not wanting to face the truth that I need to do better....ALL the time!

It's better, and we have more good days than bad now...But that's not good enough. It will not be good enough until he is treated every bit as good as my biological son is. It's better for all my children, even the biological one. I want him to grow up in a house filled with love, just as I did!!!

I guess this long winded post is really me telling you that you are likely a wonderful; young person with endless potential. You deserve better, and I need to keep reading posts like this because it helps me see it through the eyes of the ones who pay the most and are the least guilty. All I can do is continue to work on changing myself. I can't change your stepfather. Your post motivates me to try harder. Your venting and sharing is playing a part in helping me to want to help kids going through this, starting with the ones that live with me. In my mind that already makes YOU capable of wonderful things....and that was by accident! Think of how much magic you are, and will continue to grow more capable of when you are actually trying. Please hang in there, and please don't beat yourself up or lose confidence. It's our fault...NOT YOURS!