I am engaged to a man with 4 children(we've been together almost 3 years) from a previous marriage, I myself have one. He has joint custody of his, so we have his children only every other week. His 10 year old daughter seems to have developed a very strange obsession with him about 7 months ago. It all started with her crying one day in July on a boat, when the kids were taking turns going up in the captians chair. After her turn she came back to find one of the other kids in her "spot". She asked for her spot back, but her dad stopped her and said "honey, you've been sitting next to me the whole time, let one of the other kids have a turn" Well that was the beginning of the end. She started crying and said that I never have to take turns, and he explained to her that i'm his fiance and an adult and he can't make me take turns. After that I begin to sit by him less. In September it was our anniverary and his birthday in the same week we had his kids. When we told her we were going out with some friends the night of his birthday, she threw a huge temper tantrum and was screaming and crying and telling him he's not allowed. He has to spend his whole birthday with her, he's not allowed to leave! AHHH! On our anniversary I made the kids dinner early and then made a special candlelit dinner for us (so we didn't have to leave the house twice in one week) when he got home from taking his daughter to Gymnastics. Well, she had a fit. She was sitting on the couch staring at us while we ate, so asked to to go play with the other kids. She of course began sobbing and said she didn't get to see him enough that day and there was only an hour to her bed time. So of course I was no longer was in the celebrating mood and left. these are a few specific example but it's a daily struggle with her. She needs to be around him constantly. In general she...follows him everywhere around the house to the point of walking into the bathroom with him(of course he tells her to get out). If he's not home she needs to know exactly what he's doing and when he'll be home. She has to sit by him ALL the time and gets very jealous if the other kids or I are siting next to him. She then usually squeezes her way in and if she can't asks to sit on his lap, which he usually says no to. She'll ask the other children if they can go do something else so she can sit by him. He usually works from home on the week their home, but if he has a side job...she goes of course. He has repremanded her many times for acting like she is his mother, and does often tell "honey, I love you but I need some space" but the she doesn't seem to be getting any better. I love her very much and she loves me to death too and tells her dad she would be really sad if we didn't get married(she dislike her step father on the other hand). I just think this behavior is birazze and a little frustrating for me and him. My fiance is an awesome father and is very strict but always very loving. All my fiance's kids have always prefered thier dad over their mom which I always thought was unusual. When his ex-wife first left him and the kids he actually had full custody of the kids and he had just started his own business so he was with the kids 24-7. He told me never once left them with a babysitter that first year and I think they must have gotten used to always having daddy there, she was only 4 at the time. Has anyone ever heard of this happening? Sorry my question is sooo long but I just wanted to make sure you understood the whole situation.
I dated a man who was divorced with a 21 year old daughter. Never imagined dating him would cause his grown 21 year old daughter to display the bizarre behaviors that she began to shown the minute I arrived on the scene. She began to cry and walk past her father over and over again, trying to get his focus on herself instead of me. I thought something very wrong and told him to see what was wrong with her. He said he would talk to her later. The tantrums continued as well as other bizarre possessive behaviors. The first time I spent the night with him at his home we walked down the stairs into the kitchen the morning after. She approached him...talking like a little girl. Here before me was a grown woman speaking in a baby voice to her father. She told him her little arm was hurt and stretched it out in front of him. I was confused as **** trying to wrap my brain around the helpless little girl before us who was 21 and same height as me. I loved this man and continued to see him. The bizarre behaviors continued. She would interrupt us during sex, to show him something in a magazine. She would eat off his plate at dinner instead of having a dinner plate of her own. She would run up to him touch noses with him when we entered the front door and ignore my hello. She waited like a puppy dog for him every time we spend a weekend at my home and came back to his. The few occasions we went out to dinner together, she waited for him to order first and would order the same thing. She followed us from room to room which was weird and creepy to me. At 21, where were her friends??? Needless to say, we parted ways because of this. This man I thought so wonderful didn't believe there was anything wrong...since I made her feel insecure. (I guess) This was normal to him. No boundaries, very emeshed relationship. They still share an ebay account, emails are the same, and the daughter can enter his room at anytime, go through her fathers things etc..She seems to be confused that she is his daughter not his wife. Once she went through his and my things eating something I bought to share with someone else. The man said it was okay and there was no need for her to apologize since she did nothing wrong. What a f'n nightmare she was! I recently began researching this online and discovered there is a actual disorder. I can't remeber what it is called but is in the DSM I swear...
I dated a man who was divorced with a 21 year old daughter. Never imagined dating him would cause his grown 21 year old daughter to display the bizarre behaviors that she began to shown the minute I arrived on the scene. She began to cry and walk past her father over and over again, trying to get his focus on herself instead of me. I thought something very wrong and told him to see what was wrong with her. He said he would talk to her later. The tantrums continued as well as other bizarre possessive behaviors. The first time I spent the night with him at his home we walked down the stairs into the kitchen, she approached him...talking like a little girl. Here before me was a grown woman speaking in a baby voice to her father. She told him her little arm was hurt and stretched it out in front of him. I was confused as **** trying to wrap my brain around the helpless little girl before us who was 21 and same height as me. I loved this man and continued to see him and the behaviors behaviors continued. She would interrupt us during sex, to show him something in a magazine. She would eat off his plate at dinner instead of having a dinner plate of her own. She would run up to him touch noses with him when we entered the front door and ignore my hello. She waited like a puppy dog for him every time we spend a weekend at my home and came back to his. The few occasions we went out to dinner together, she waited for him to order first and would order the same thing. She followed us from room to room which was weird and creepy to me. At 21, where were her friends??? Needless to say, we parted ways because of this. This man I thought so wonderful didn't believe there was anything wrong...since I made her feel insecure. (I guess) This was normal to him. No boundaries, very emeshed relationship. They still share an ebay account, emails are the same, and the daughter seems to be confused that she is his daughter not his wife. What a f'n nightmare she was! I recently began researching this online and discovered there is a actual disorder.
I am with a man who has a 5 year old who does alot of the same things. But she does not love me to death she actually tells me everyday that she hates me. I think it is due to the fact that she is jealous and wants her dad to herself like it was before.
I have the same situation at the first writer. My 11yr old step daughter is obsessed with her father. She wants to be with him all the time, she wants to make him breakfast every morning, she has his middle/highschool pictures hanging up around her room and 2 photos of the two of them that she has displayed for the last 4 years. It is so frustrating. Has it gotten any better for you. My husband sees it, however he thinks it is normal for a kid to adore her father. Were I agree and I too hold my dad on a pedistool, I still feel that this is unhealthy and over the top. She is crying every other minute about something, it just seems like a very unstable way of life. UGH!
I have the same situation with my 12 year old stepdaughter. Totally obsessed with her dad. We just had a baby and now she is totally obsessed with the baby too. The x wife calls crying because the daughter is always crying she misses her dad and her sister (baby is only 8 weeks old). She sees him twice a week and every other weekend. It has been like this for the past 10 years, but it seems to have gotten worse when we found out I was pregnant. Now that the baby is here, its the baby is so cute the baby this the baby that I am a big sister, and it's constant, there is no other conversation about anything else but her being a sister and the baby. When she is here she follows me around with the baby like a puppy. When I put the baby in her swing she is in the babys face talking and poking at her, none stop to the point of being an unhealthy obsession. When people come over to see the baby she gets upset, she doesn't want anyone else near her. I am actually nervous to leave her alone in the same room with her for a split second because I am afraid she might do something and hurt her, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Her mom just put her in therapy in the past week, but her behavior in the past has been just as bizarre I have told my husband for years she needs help, and he said that it was all me and there was nothing wrong with her.
I read and relate 100% to mishl9 original post (Unfortunately it was back in 2008 that it was posted) yet I see no answers here. Did anyone actually get an answer to what this problem is, or what its called? Or even what causes it?
I don't know if I think this is a disorder. Sounds to me more like children missing their father. Divorce is pretty hard on kids, and a new step parent even harder. It's not uncommon or unusual for kids to compete for parents attention with siblings, and so it's the same with step parents. Patience and understanding are the key. The 21 year old is perhaps a bit odd, but for the younger ones, very normal.
She misses her dad and feels like YOU are taking him away from him. Instead of excluding her, try to include her on things. She feels like she's being replaced. Trust me, I know that feeling. And it's not weird at all.
I have the same problem going on but mine is even worse. My boyfriend, (who is 49 and his daughter who will be 10) is the same way in return. He buys into and even pushes the attention she gives to him. She always comes first, no matter what, plans get cancelled because something is up with her, happens to be valentines day is her birthday so I dont get any time with him whatsoever. We were supposed to see eachother tonight but its the father/daughter dance. I have been with him 2 years. Finally started interacting with the daughter 6 omnths ago and we do get along but when we all watch tv together she is all over him and I am lucky to get the hand holding, and god forbid she sees him touch me, there she is with the please love me hug, and what bothers me most is that he adores this. HELP!
Hi there and welcome. Well, it certainly is hard to be with a man with a child from a previous relationship. I hear you.
I do want to say this though. I'm guessing you don't have kids? You don't seem to understand the dynamics of parent/child. Especially when they do not get to be together every day such as in shared custody. I have two sons, 9 and almost 8. We're affectionate and have deep love for each other. They absolutely come above all else. I love their dad tremendously and he is very important to me but my kids' needs come first. Heck, they often come over my own needs as I'll get up and do for them when I'm exhausted, I'll put off my own activity to attend theirs, etc. That's parenting.
That he has special things planned with her such as on her birthday, valentines day, or father/daughter dance (your examples)---- well, those are special memories with his child. I'd be supportive of that. My own husband gets big kuddos from me when he plans special things with our kids. I love that they are bonding!!
Do you get no time with him on your own? Does he have her 24/7?
In all honestly, someone that is very attached to their child and then the person they are dating has a problem with that--- are probably not compatible for dating. Too much tension.
He may pull back on the affection and time with her as she enters the teenage years but most likely will always be very close to her as father and daughters should be.
I get that this would be very hard for you if you don't feel included. I wouldn't like that either. So, I'm not sure what the answer is.
I guess you could tell him your feelings but in a way that doesn't make him defensive if you can. peace and luck
Hi thanks for the welcome and comments. I have 2 sons. 20 and 17. The difference betweeen me and my boyfriend is that his daughter IS his life whereas my boys are a wonderful PART of my life. I would lay my life down for them but i also have my own life which is very nessecary for a healthy parent child relationship. I always tried to have a date night and call the sitter. My guy simply will not do this and he has 50/50 custody too. I agree this is not the workings of a lasting partnership.
I know this is old, but I also have step daughters. They stay with us every weekend. The younger one (5) is more attached to me, since we've been together for 2 years and she doesn't remember me not being in the picture. Also, I work from home, and he works weekends so they end up spending more time with me. In the weekends I am practically her mommy, and daddy is second. The older one (10) loves us both but is more attached to her dad. She wants to always be around him, sit next to him or on his lap, etc. Honestly, they just love and really really miss their dads. When I think about it, i just feel for her. So I am probably one of those rare step moms who encourages it, because I believe she misses him all week at her moms and I feel sorry for her. Just try to understand it from their point of view, you get him every day, she just gets him every other week. She needs bonding time with him.
To EVERYONE here (I'm surprised how common this issue is and how little is known about it - frightening!)
Google is your friend!
These issues with parent/child relationships that seem inappropriate or over-the-top, even if it appears the parent is (currently) exhibiting perfectly healthy behaviour towards the child, are likely the product of emotional incest.
Also known as covert incest, it's when a parent has leaned on a child in an emotional way, usually when a marriage or romantic relationship is failing and that parent feels at a loss and no longer has their partner to talk to, so they turn to a child they feel close with to confide in. Unfortunately for that child (and any future partners of that parent) this creates an unhealthy emotional disregulation between the child and parent where the child feels like they must fill an emotional role of a romantic partner. Whether the child or parent realizes what has happened or not, the bond is not healthy, and the behaviour the child exhibits will seem more like a partner, showing extreme jealousy, loose boundaries, and needing more attention or affection than seems normal.
Here is a very good article discussing it. It includes differentiating between covert, and overt incest (where there is actual sexual touching involved) and combinations of it.
It might seem harmless enough to have an honest and open relationship with a child that way, and in some cases it might actually be harmless, but in other cases it can prove to be too much emotionally for a child and cause these kinds of issues.
I strongly urge anyone experiencing this (or observing this) in any family dynamic to read the above article I linked to about "Covert Incest" on the PsychologyToday website and to seek professional help from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
What you've described sounds normal and healthy compared to what others in this thread have described.
Girls missing their father who they don't see regularly is normal, of course, however, obsessive, extremely jealous behaviours and clear issues with boundaries is a big red flag. A child should be able to, and even desire to go off and play with other children and/or by themselves away from their parent(s). It's a normal part of development. A lot of the descriptions here don't sound like that.
It is called Mini wife syndrome or emotional incest. If not treated it will never get better. Your partner needs to be willing to set boundaries. If he does not see that there is a problem, my advise is to get the hell out of this relationship, it will only drive you nuts.
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