"My Stepdaughter Is Out to Get Me!"

Can she overcome a turbulent relationship with his daughter? Can this marriage be saved?
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Her Turn

"My Husband's Daughter Seems to Hate Me"

"I can't believe this is happening to me," said Barbara. "I'm a family counselor. I run parenting workshops and seminars. I'm fairly well-known in town, and, I might add, well respected. But I'm also a new stepmother trying to make my marriage work -- and failing miserably. My husband's daughter seems to hate me, and my husband doesn't do anything to help fix the problem. 

"I married Jimmy a year ago, two years after divorcing my husband of 12 years. We had known each other socially for a long time; in fact, he and my ex-husband, Mark, played golf together, although I barely knew Jim's ex-wife, Miranda, or his daughter, Jessica, who is 11.

"So Jimmy and I were good friends before our relationship turned romantic. That's why I had such high hopes for us. And he was so good with my 5-year-old son, Logan. Jimmy made me laugh and forget about how hard it was to raise a little boy on my own. I desperately wanted to have a stable, happy family for Logan's sake.

"My first marriage was miserable. I stayed as long as I did because I didn't want to be a failure in love like my own mother. She was 16 when she had me. My father, her high school boyfriend, left town when he found out she was pregnant. My grandparents took me in while my mother dropped out of school, remarried twice and held a variety of odd jobs. Even today I can't count on her for anything.

"Now, I'm losing hope for my second marriage. Almost as soon as we moved in together, things changed. Jessica comes to stay with us every other week. It's an understatement to say my relationship with her is strained. She's completely disrespectful, doesn't follow my household rules, and even flat-out ignores me when I'm talking to her. Worse, she has turned into her mother's little spy, reporting half-truths and outright lies about my family. Jimmy is no help. He has turned into an indulgent wimp, doing everything for his daughter and pretending not to notice her outright hostility to me.

Continued on page 2:  Her Turn, continued


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