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Cinderella complex

Community Member

I have a 25 year old daughter with a one year old, living in a blended family with her partner and his six year old daughter who they have 50% custody. Since my daughter gave birth to her baby, she has taken issue with her step daughter, does not allow the children to have any contact with each other or any relationship of any kind, including traveling in separate cars so the kids aren't sat in the back seat together, creating a gated room at the front of the house for just her and the baby.

we all treat the step daughter like she is our own, the same way we treat my grandson. I have consistently been outspoken about her treatment of her step daughter, however because she provides the bare basics of care being clothing, feeding she does not recognize the emotional abuse she is inflicting. By speaking out, we are threatened with losing my grandson and there have been periods of time where i have not seen him because I refuse to stay silent.

christmas day was breaking point for the family, she treated her stepdaughter like she wasn't welcome there, would remove the baby from her presence if he tried to go near her, yelled at her whenever the baby wanted to touch her because she should know the rules. We were threatened with being kicked out of her house for trying to involve the kids together.

her partner is passive in all of this, loves and cares for his daughter but allows this behaviour to occur. My daughter make up lies about her stepdaughter citing she is mentally unstable and suicidal, and a risk to the baby. The problem is that the child's biological mother is not amazing either, so we all step in to try and provide all the love and care we can to this little girl, but then are abused for over compensating for her lack of maternal instinct towards her.

i have considered approaching my daughters doctor because I believe she is mentally unwell or talking to child protection, but all of these options pose a risk in terms of access to the kids. We've told her partner that wecannot tolerate this behaviour any longer and that he needs to do something about it. We are their only support network because if you don't agree with my daughter, she cuts you off. in addition to all of this my daughter is pregnant again and due in May. She is so obsessed with the baby, she currently has, I'm fearful for what will happen when this new baby comes along.

just wondering if anyone has had any experience with this, I'm heartbroken and losing sleep over this situation.

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hi there tombraider88,

Welcome to the beyondblue forum. From reading your post it sounds as though you have a lot on your plate to deal with. This sounds like a really tough situation. When you want someone to change their behaviour and they do not have insight to their behaviour and its impacts on others, then you can feel stuck.

I do suggest you talk to someone about this and on a regular basis. By going to your own GP and finding some support for yourself, you can better help keep yourself from becoming unwell due to the stress. Not sleeping is often the first sign that there is a emerging problem and getting help for yourself can be a really important first step that people overlook. By taking care of you, you will be stronger and better able to help with the situation. It sounds like it has been going on for sometime now and with the arrival of your newest grandchild, it could get better or even worse. If you go to your GP and ask for some support they might be the person that you feel comfortable talking with or it could be that your GP refers you to a counsellor who you can regularly check in with.

Another suggestion is to keep a record of all the things that are causing you to have concern. Having all your concerns down on paper can provide a record especially if you want to report your concerns to Child Protection. Each state has a specific child protection reporting laws. You can get some advise from counsellors who are experienced in domestic violence or neglect by calling 1800 RESPECT or you can access the beyondblue support line on 1300 22 4636. Talking to someone who is objective to the situation can be really helpful and may be able to offer you some direction on where to raise your concerns depending on where you live.

It can be incredibly difficult witness poor parenting behaviour especially when it is causing detriment to a young child. Nobody can make the decision for you on what to do but setting up supports for your own mental health is a good start. By reaching out on the forum and gaining some advise will also help you make your decision on whether you will intervene.

Everyday is a new day and it will be much easier to tackle this with better sleep. Keep reaching out on the forum and in other ways that will help you to keep strong will be really important as often these types of situations can take some time to resolve.

Wishing you the best possible outcome,

Nurse Jenn

Geez, that just sounds awful 😞

Have you asked her what the heck she is accomplishing? Sounds like she is emotionally blackmailing you all...do what I say or you'll miss out on your grandchild!! A bit rich if she's expecting accommodation from you. The tail is wagging the dog.

I have 3 daughters (28, 26, 21, none of them have children) and I think if one of them was doing this, I'd tell them they could support themselves if they were old enough to keep having babies, in their own place.

If Dad can't stand up for his own child....