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Step-Daughter Is Deliberately Abusive

Question:

My 23 year old step-daughter just moved back in with us against my true desires. She was asked to leave last year after she physically assaulted me. We feel she has bipolar but getting her to seek help she won’t do. It is always someone else’s fault and never hers. She is openly critical towards me. Behind my back she is extremely mean towards me and animals, at times, if they don’t do what she wants. She is constantly impatient, negative, and frankly, I feel I am in prison in my own home. I try to talk to my husband and he just wants us to get along, he loves us both. I am at the end of my rope. We provide everything for her so she can go to school and all we get are vile attitudes and poison from her mouth! I’ve had it with this ungrateful attitude and feeling like she can treat us anyway she wants. I stand up to her but she keeps doing it. I really don’t know what to do.

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Answer:

The only way a resolution to this problem can be found is if you and your husband work together. The two of you need to sit down and have a lengthy talk about what is happening, without blaming and accusations. In the discussion, it must be made clear that it is impossible for everyone to get along while a mentally ill person is in the house who is not taking medication, not in psychotherapy and not controlling herself.

As part of the discussion, you and your husband must discuss the importance of  your step daughter seeing a psychiatrist and starting medication and seeing a psychotherapist. In fact, family therapy is called for so that the three of you can discuss issues with the help of the therapist, especially so that she can be made to understand the impact of her behavior on the family.

Finally, your husband must be helped to understand the degree of desparation and helplessness you feel and that the situation is intolerable. If he wants everyone to get along then he must be a team player so that the two of you present a united front to his daughter.

Good Luck

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