i need help

by cassandra

Me and this guyhave been together since his daughter was four and we've been together for about five years now. I used to do everything with her but its gotten to the point where i cant handle her. Her dad used to say bad things about me so i went to see my mom for a little while to open his eyes to how i didn't like the way he was treating me and when i came back he started treating me good but his daughter still treats me bad, she mocks me, calls me lazy, blames me for everything she does wrong. She also hits me and then is good when she wants things and then gets worse when she gets what she wants. I don't know what to do, i have already been told i need to lower my blood pressure and i want to have fun and take her places but it feels like all she is going to do is treat me bad, and i cant handle taking her places without feeling like total shit. What should i do? PLEASE HELP!

Ben's Answer:

Your husband is at least partly to blame for this mess, because of his past disrespect of you. So he needs to be part of the solution, if possible. Yes, kids unfortunately do sometimes lose control or their anger and even hit the adults in their life - but this is never acceptable - especially for a 9 year old. If this isn't dealt with head-on, and soon - you're going to be in a whole new level of misery when she hits adolescence.

Family therapy is my first recommendation. Dad needs to be there, fully committed, along with you and his daughter. Some clear, corrective actions need to be taken, with both you and he as the parents, making the rules together as a team; and his daughter needs a safe place to vent her own anger where she can be heard and understood without being seen as "the problem." The whole basis of good family therapy is the understanding that you are a system - a unit - completely interdependent on one another. There is never one person who is the problem. Everyone contributes to the problem as well as the solution.

I can't say strongly enough how much easier it would be with a good family therapist versus trying to figure it out yourself as you go along getting abused and manipulated.

You have to earn her respect, while claiming your authority as a parent, and finding genuine ways to connect with her. Not always so easy, but with the right help, you can do it.

Good Luck!

Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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