I stumbled upon this forum yesterday...THANK YOU. I have a very manipulative and jealous 12-year-old SD in my house half time, and many of the discussions here have dealt with similar issues and frustration with our partners. She basically views herself as her dad's girlfriend and has fits of jealousy if we even have friends over when she's at her mom's...because she feels she needs to be included. I struggle with overwhelming resentment when she is around and then the accompanying feelings of guilt or insufficiency. I won't go into details because from reading this forum I think you all know what I'm talking about. I've always loved children and have been around them consistently for 15 years, but she makes me a very angry, un-fun person.
I think a lot of our issues are actually problems with our partners, and we can only talk so much to them before they either shut us down or feel like their child or their parenting abilities are under attack (cue the guilt), at which point we ramp it up in an effort to convince them that we ARE actually acting out of love, which can then lead to a great fight.
I'd like to know what discussions we've had with our men that have elicited change, even if it's temporary. I've had a couple of successful conversations...but I would LOVE some other ones.
1) My wonderful fiance sprung it on me at 9:30pm one night that he was going to go out with a friend. This assumes both that *I* had no interest in going out and that I was also an eager and available babysitter for beloved SD. SD decided to blame ME that if I went out too, then I am the one abandoning her. She went on to say that I *always* take her dad away. She stormed away upstairs. Well, my lovely fiance got a brief, concise but cutting earful about changing plans and also treating me like a babysitter. The look on his face was "Oh, s***...I didn't even think of that". So he called the SD back and apologized to both of us. This was NOT typical for him and I was very proud of him, although I didn't think he should be apologizing to SD...more like someone owed ME an apology, but whatever.
2) Again, wonderful fiance "supports" (in theory, but not practice) my tough-love principles for raising SD. So we come up with a consequence for a recent behaviour, and an idea for what to do if it happens again. HE came up with the idea, and I suggested HE enforce it the first time it happens. He looked extremely nervous, but he did it, and this brought on the change we were wanting. Again, I was very proud of him. It's not a permanent change (he didn't do it the next time) but it was enough to demonstrate to me that he respects me and supports my role as a parent.
Nothing's perfect or permanent, but knowing others have had even tiny breakthroughs would give me a lot of strength and patience with BOTH my step-daughter AND fiance, as I want to knock their heads together occasionally.