Reluctant Resentment - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-21-2014, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reluctant Resentment

Hello fellow blended mothers... I need your advice.

My fiancé has a four-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, and we've been together for two years now, so I've been a mother figure for her for as long as she can remember.

I want to get one thing straight- I do want a good relationship with her. And in the beginning, I had one. Now that she's getting older, it's getting harder because she's becoming a raging brat, and I can't handle kids like that. She doesn't listen, she talks back and threatens us when she gets in trouble and doesn't like her punishment (e.g. 'If you take my puzzles away, I won't let you play with me and I won't love you anymore!'), it goes on and on.

My most recent problem is her jealousy issues. She is already the constant center of attention because she's an only child and a child of divorce, so for the longest time she has been the center of the universe to her family, and now she expects it. We literally, no exaggeration whatsoever, cannot stop engaging her for more than three minutes and she will do something pointless for attention ('Watch me spin!','Look, I can put my hand on my ear!', etc). She is incredibly jealous of our dog- for example she was once gettin mad at him because he was trying to play with her and she didn't want to, so I called him over to me and started petting him to keep him busy for her... And she immediately drops what she's doing and just walks up and stands in front of me, staring at me, waiting for me to give her attention too. In the last few weeks though, her calls for attention have been more severe- hitting the dog, kicking furniture, deliberately disobeying as she looks us in the eye, perfectly aware. And the most fun (can you feel the sarcasm?) doing every desperate thing she can think of to pull him away from me when he hugs me, kisses me, or shows me any affection whatsoever.

Naturally, my fiancé doesn't see the jealousy she has for me, but I'm sure he will soon enough as it's becoming more obvious. Otherwise we do a good job of remaining a united front to take care of the problem.

So my question is not 'is this behavior normal?' because I know it is. My questions are: is it normal for me to get unusually angry about it? Is it normal for me to feel like I might not like having her around anymore? Will I get over it as she outgrows it?

I've spent a lot of time around children, and this sort of behavior has never gotten to me this bad. But then, it's one thing to be a nanny and another to be a stepmom. I DON'T WANT to feel this way about her! Help!!
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:14 PM
 
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I had lots of experience with kids before becoming part of my now stepdaughter's life when she was 5, and only ever felt positively about those experiences.
But over the years, particularly when she was younger, I went through stages of feeling extremely aggravated with her, and even at times jealous of her (which I am not proud to admit). I think that filling the role of a stepparent is just extremely difficult. I had to face my own control issues, which popped up in various ways (frustration at her mother's parenting, frustration at not feeling like I had as much a right to parent as my husband did, etc). And it also meant that all of the issues with my husband's and my relationship were at times highlighted in a way that only kids can make happen.
In other words, I think it's totally normal to have these feelings, and that admitting them to yourself is part of dealing with them appropriately. I hope you can give yourself some slack.
My stepdaughter is 16 now, and I am happy to say that we have a good relationship, and all of those old feelings have faded into the background as she's matured.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:07 AM
 
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Your feelings are totally normal, both as a step parent, and being frustrated in your relationship that your partner doesn't see the problem.

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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