Need insight on a controlling 7 y/o step-daughter and parents


I've been in a relationship with my fianc� for almost a year and I knew before getting into a relationship and before saying 'yes' when he asked me to marry him that he had a daughter who would be involved in our life to a certain extent. I had no issue with this even though I knew it would be hard going into it and I would be challenged a lot. We are both in our mid-20's, his daughter is almost 7 y/o, and his ex controls 90% of anything that has to do with their daughter even though he has legal 50/50 custody. Entering into the relationship I knew I would have to deal with all of this and process the new situation. We agreed to take it slow and things were going great for the first few months.

It was hard for me to take it all in because from day 1 I never thought our relationship would last. We are total opposites and were just hanging out as friends which lead into more as feelings kept developing and we've been dating for almost a year now. Everything I thought I had figured out has gotten jumbled and I am now confused over a lot of issues that have to deal with his daughter and family. I should also mention that he lives with his parents still and they are controlling to the max of not only him but also of the way he parents his daughter.

As time passed I learned more and more about his situation with his ex. She had cheated on him multiple times and when she found out she was pregnant didn't know whose baby it was but he was the only one to stand by her (they were seniors in high school). He got a DNA test and the baby ended up being his so he took full responsibility for what happened and tried to put everything behind them but she went back to old ways as well as refusing to let him see his daughter. This is only the tip of the iceberg so I decided to stay out of that part of his life as much as I could. But when someone is obviously being taken advantage of and when his daughter is being held over his head so she can manipulate him I cant stand by and let that happen. I am very out-spoken to him and only to him but he tells his parents everything and of course they get involved because they like to rule him and is daughter. So I stepped back to respect them but it kills me to see him being manipulated and controlled like he is. And it scares me because I see his daughter doing the same thing to him and his parents only they don't see it at all. I have brought this up and he gets insanely defensive about it all which is understandable but I am only trying to help and always approach it in a suggesting manner never a manner in which it would sound as though I was telling him what to do.

Back to the reason I am writing his daughter is only 7 y/o and she runs the show. She can manipulate the situation and people like no child I have ever seen (I should mention I studied child development in school and I have cared for children as a nanny in the summer and more recently full time since I was 13 as well as teaching at a daycare center). So back to the situation and my concern again...

The way his daughter controls and manipulates people scares me yet I know I cannot say anything to her nor talk to her about it and try to see her side because that is not my role nor can I discipline her when she acts out. Now that I say thing more openly to him his parents hear at times and get very defensive against me. I feel as though I am going against all three of them when I am truly only in a relationship with my boyfriend and only trying to see his side and understand where he is coming from while trying to make suggestions based on my background and experience.

The second concerning part is his ex... it is as if she says "Jump" and he says "How high" as do his parents. They call in sick at times to help her out when needed because she doesn't have a license or car. But back to him and his ex... I can't bite my tongue when it starts to affect our relationship. He bends over backwards to please her because he doesn't want her to keep his daughter from him yet they have a legal court document detailing custody rights. Yet she tells him when he can and when he can't have his daughter and if her family has a family event she automatically assumes she gets their daughter even if it is daddy time. And he gives in to her. Yet if he asked for a little extra time she wont let him have it. For example it was a mommy day for his birthday and he asked weeks in advance for just a few hours and she said no not happening don't ask again even though we let her take their daughter the last three of our saturday's because they had family events. It is really hard for me to see a young girl being influenced to act the same way her mother does.

To make matters worse when she is with daddy she doesn't listen at all and is as I said before very manipulative and nobody does anything about it. She acts like she is queen bee calling the shots. She is spoiled rotten and knows she can get away with anything. (Also I was an only child and have asked my mom a lot about everything to see if I was that way and know she will be honest because I never remember acting like that and she simply said never I wouldn't tolerate it). I am just worried that if things keep going the way they are when she is a teen she will be out of control.

Also lately he has gotten very defensive and we have been fighting a lot. I am in noway accusing or saying I am perfect I just don't know how to communicate with him without him all of a sudden feeling as though I am attacking him when it comes to his daughter. Lately he has been saying that his daughter is his number 1 and will always be and nothing will ever change that not a girlfriend or anyone. Yet he always says i'm his life now and he loves how wonderful I am with his daughter and how amazing it is that we get along so well (because I need to mention that she adores me and always wants to be with me and around us) but I just don't feel right lately. I have a lot of insecurities myself, and that makes it hard as well but I am just trying to let him see things my way because he always asked my opinion yet he gets mad when I share it. I spent the first 6-7 months not saying a thing and just observing and trying to support him because I wanted him to know he always has my support as he does. But I can't let his daughter run our lives and I won't when we are married. And when he says nothing will come between his daughter always being number 1 in his life it scares me to think what will happen when we have kids in the future if we are blessed to have them. It also worries me because we both have a strong faith base and God should always be number one no matter what, and then our spouse, and then our kids (It's hard to hear this at times and to believe since we spend so much time putting our kids needs before our own, but your spouse is the one who is always there by your side until you are old and I don't want to become resentful because he treats our kids and me differently than his first daughter, knowing I will treat any kids I have, his daughter included, the exact same). I guess I am just over-thinking everything to a point of being unsure about it all.

I love him more than I thought I could ever love anyone in my life. Yet I am confused and scared. He makes it known his daughter is number 1 which I understand, but what gets to me is how he lets her control him and how he lets his parents control him and how he parents. It scares me for the future that I will have no voice.

I know this is just a lot of information and rambling and venting but if anyone can offer insight or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!

This post was edited by jess007 on Mon, Sep 23, 13 at 22:58

Comments (4)
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He is not ready to be married. Wait until he is out on his own and supporting himself before you think about getting married. Was he going to move in with you after marriage? Does he have a job?

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Sadly, I have only one suggestion. Run.

I am absolutely serious. There are so many strikes in this situation I do not see anything but continuing struggles if you persist. You have the parents, the daughter and the x-wife aligned against you, and a partner who is neither financially nor emotionally independent. If ever there were a no-win situation, this is it.

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So many red flags:

Lets his daughter run the show.

Does not stand up to the BM.

Is defensive when it comes to his daughter.

You believe that God should be number one, then the spouse, then the kids, and by words and actions he shows he doesn’t agree with this structure of priorities.

Sounds like he is content to let his parents raise his daughter for him and he takes their side instead of standing up for you and ...

OMG, he lives with his parents?

HOW can you find any respect for a man that can not stand up to his BM, his parents or a 7 year old CHILD?

Please, don't think things will magically change when you get married. There's a saying, women get married hoping that the man will change, men get married hoping that the woman doesn't.

No, you are NOT overthinking this, you are right to have second thoughts about this relationship. Listen to your gut that says this relationship is not going to last.

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Hey! ... So your situation sounds like my life 100%.

Im not sure how you can find my posts but one of them is POWER STRUGGLE WITH STEP-DAUGHTER.

I have the same situation minus the parents. I am lucky enough that the parents respect me and realise the BM is a sad excuse for a parent.

Before I say anything I just wanted to say that it may be a really bad sign that his parents are acting the way they are... because bascially they are telling you by not allowing you over that they do not respect you, your opinions, your relationship with your bf... and I am assuming you have said or did something or voiced opinions and they disagree...

What I did after I joined this forum, with the help of the posters on here is I literally removed myself from the situation... The child is 7 just like you, and she runs the show just likes yours. Now basically what I did with my fiance is sit down and say listen, I had divorced parents and my dad was strict and my mom was a push over... I explained to him that for his daughter's sake he needed to teach her discipline and give her rules and guidelines. In the beginning he thought I was a complete jerk so I stayed quiet..

Then things started unfolding on their own. She acted out at a fam BBQ and made him look like a fool, she almost drowned at a cottage we rented because he cant get control of her, she physcially hurt my god daugher (who is 3 btw), she ruined a weekend trip away because she started crying again in the middle of a show because the attn wasnt all on her, and his own MOTHER will not take her anywhere anymore because she is out of control and drove her absolutely insane on a weekend trip... these are just some of the things and this was what i can remember all in a 1-2 month span...And we have her every OTHER weekend.

Bascially then, he came to me and said listen I really dono what to do. I am so lost. And my response was well I'm not an expert but I can see what you can't because I am not the parent and she is SCREAMING for some guidelines and rules. I told him straight up if you do not get her under control and respecting you then when she is a teen I feel extremely sorry for you and her.

As you said she adores me too. But I have had some things happen to my in the last little while as well.. One of my posts was about a day that she was being bullied at daycare so I kept her at home that day before she went back to BM and she did not listen to a single word that came out of my mouth the entire day. She has ZERO respect for elders, and MINUS respect for her father and in turn me.

So now the rule is I do not take her anywhere without him. And he is giving the discipline... I like you, am trying to help him and her... but as the posters on here will never fail to remind you,.... your not the mom, you have no say. When this child's BM doesnt care for her in appropriate ways, I can't do anything about it. So now I just let him handle everything. When his BM freaks out and calls and acts like a 2 yr old. I just leave the room and let it go on. Because as much as you want to lose your mind on him, her whatever just remember NONE of this is your problem.

Enjoy him, and YOUR relationship. And enjoy the little one when shes around, help her with her homework, cook together do fun stuff. But if he doesn't discipline her and she drives you nuts... guess what, shes NOT yours so you have the choice that you can leave.

It really doesn't sound like the situation will change if he doesn't think there is a problem. And him constantly tellin you she is # 1 is telling you that whatever YOU have to say means F*%& all and you may as well give up saying anything. He is not listening. He is listening however to what his parents say (who seem to be quacks) by the way.

I would suggest taking some time and thinking about the situation. Forget about the daughter for a moment and his family and really think about what exactly it is that you two have together... Is there even anything there?
do you even do anything together or have fun or is it all based on HIS parents HIS kid and HIS problems with HIS BM. Just remember at the end of the day if he doesnt respect your opinions that what exactly do you have together?

The best of luck,
Dont forget to update us here lol
I always wonder whats happening in the poster's lives after they post and get responses haha!

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