Why Doesn’t My Stepfather Respect Me?

Question: Dear Luise: I’ve been having problems with my step dad. My mom met him when I was three, and married him when I was around the age of 6 or 7. Ever since then, he always yells at me for no reason, and makes me cry, and says that i never do anything, even though i do whatever they ask me to do. I’m just sick and tired of being treated like a little kid, and dirt. I’m 14, and I am a good girl. I don’t get myself into any trouble, yet he always finds a problem with me. It’s summer now and he’s making me give him my cell phone at NINE o’clock. That’s unbelievable because I never even did anything. It’s almost like he doesn’t want me to have a life, or friends. And I talk to my mom about it, and she sometimes talks to him about being more relaxed with me, (and my younger brother-4) but he never listens, and I just feel like he doesn’t even love me, or treat me with respect, which makes me not want to treat him with any respect. And I’m a bit scared to talk to him about it, cause he’s just going to freak out. What do I do? F.

Answer: Dear F.: You are a remarkable person. I know that and I am so grateful that you know that. Your stepfather is not going to listen. You will have to wait it out and not make it any worse by being disrespectful. There isn’t any other solution when you are still living at home. He is showing you very little to respect, I get that. Honor him anyhow. It’s the best method for survival in your circumstance. I also get that there’s no pleasing him and his demands and reactions are off the charts. I’m so sorry. You deserve so much better.

When you get out of there, take this lesson with you. Don’t hook up with someone whose beliefs and values don’t match yours. Your mother may love him but he wasn’t/isn’t good parent material and that probably should have been her major consideration in marrying again. Loving someone doesn’t mean you can live with him. You are going to enter the adult phase of your life smarter than most and, yes, I know the price is high.

Do your best to keep things manageable. He isn’t manageable but you are. He probably thinks yelling at kids is what father’s do. Believe it or not lots of parents think that’s the way to show that they are interested and care. (I think that’s nuts and you know it is.) You’re a wonderful person. I can see it in every line. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Three-quarters of your life is after you leave home and then you will have a lot to say about how you want it to be. In the meantime, I am sending you my deepest respect. Blessings, Luise

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