My Husband Treats me Like a Child and He Treats his Child Like an Adult!

I stood there at the side of the nature trail completely dumbfounded as I listened to my husband of just a few months literally order me to stop questioning him. We were on a day trip with some friends, also newly married and my husband had pulled me aside to order me around like a child. I quickly told him to stop treating me like a child and to treat me like the wife that I was. I was even more shocked when he gave me an evil look, like he wanted to hurt me and he again ordered me not to question him or tell him what to do -- then he added emphatically that he was most certainly not treating me like a child.

Unfortunately that was not an isolated incident, there were many more to follow in the coming years. If being treated like a child by my husband (who was supposed to love, honor and protect me) wasn't bad enough I had to watch as he treated his young daughter like an equal. It was infuriating to say the least, I didn't grow up and get married to get another parent. I didn't want another parent, I wanted a husband!

It didn't matter what we were planning we had to get his daughter's permission first. Was it okay with her if I made chicken for dinner? If not, what did she want me to make? Did she approve of how we wanted to redecorate the kitchen? Did she approve of how I arranged the living room? No she didn't and she got to do it the way that she wanted it. Did she approve of the plans we had for the back yard? Did she approve of the house that we wanted to buy? If she didn't like it then we weren't going to sign the papers.

Why my husband even bothered to ask my opinion I have no idea. It clearly didn't matter to him in the least. He would ask my opinion before asking his daughter's opinion, but that was only to make sure that my opinion was good enough. If I did not want to go along with what my stepdaughter wanted then my husband would get angry with me for "not acting like part of this family". Or he would accuse me of hating his daughter or not respecting him.

I don't know how you grew up but when I grew up the adults made the decisions, not the children. I am a child of divorce as well and I certainly didn't have the decision making power in the home. I did not override the authority of my biological or stepparents. The adults were in charge and made all the decisions, sure they asked the kids opinions on many things but our opinions were never the final say. In fact, I always looked forward to becoming an adult and and making my own choices and making choices with my future husband. I certainly never imagined that I would get married and still have no decision making power in my own home or life. I can tell you that it made me very angry to see a child have that kind of power over me.

I felt completely disappointed and I felt like something had been stolen from me. Something had been stolen from me, and my husband was the one who took it from me. He took the honor and respect due to me as his wife and handed it to his daughter on a silver platter. I was frustrated beyond words because I had tried so many times and so many ways to change the situation but my husband would have nothing to do with it. He was perfectly happy to see me submit to his daughter, as he in fact was doing. There was absolutely no convincing him that this wasn't the way that things should be. Even others outside of our marriage would notice what was going on and they would ask him about it and he was so defensive that they never brought it up again.

That incident on the nature trail was eight years ago and thankfully between then and now I have learned a few ways to deal with the situation. One thing I have learned is that the only person I can control is myself, I have stopped trying to control what my husband does or thinks. He thinks that there is nothing wrong with the letting his daughter run the family and clearly he is defensive about it.

So that left me looking at my place in the situation and what I could personally do to bring about change. At first I didn't think that there was anything that I could do, I felt like I was a victim of the situation. But then I began to discover small things that I could do to change the situation.

One thing that I started doing was making other plans when his daughter stayed with us. I was making a big step to give myself space from being around the place that his daughter ruled. I would go shopping with friends or family, I would go and run errands, whatever it took to get away. My husband would say, "But [my daughter] wants us all do xyz today!" to which I would reply, "Well *I'm* doing xyz today. Bye!" After a while they finally figured out that they needed to include my opinions and desires if they wanted me around. So they did start to respect me so that I would spend time with them. When they start going back in the direction of letting his daughter rule the family I go back to this plan and do my own thing for a while until they start respecting me again.

Another thing I have done is to pick my battles. I don't want everything to be a battle and I can let go of some things that my stepdaughter has control over that I would like to. I decided which issues were the most important and decided those were worth battling for and that other issues were better to let slide. Since I was getting my way in the important (to me) areas then it was easier to take the less important areas.