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Dear Amy
Feeling Like An Outsider

Dear Amy,

I'm a 16 year old girl who lives with her mum on the south coast of Britain. My dad lives with his girlfriend of six years in London. It is a two and half hour drive there. My parents split when I was two, and when I was three my mum left London. Until I was ten, my dad drove to see me every Sunday and we'd go to the beach or the forest and I loved it. Then he stopped coming every week and came every two-three weeks instead. When I first met his girlfriend, she was very nice. She took me on a few trips to central London (just us two), and I really enjoyed it. It helped that she didn't try and be motherly in any way, she let my dad do the parenting.

However, it began to change when she moved in, when I was thirteen years old. She no longer took me on trips out or attempted to do anything with me. My dad always kept his spare room with some things of mine in, as I tended to stay for a few days every couple of months. However, she began cluttering the room with her stuff. I didn't have a problem with this, but she chucked out loads of my childhood books that I wanted to keep for sentimental value, just so she had room for her shoes. In December of that year, it was my dad's birthday and I wanted to make him a surprise meal. I asked her for help, as I thought it would be a good way to repair our relationship and I knew I couldn't manage it on my own. I wanted it to just be us three, but she invited her three sisters and her parents, who I had never met. I wouldn't have minded, but when I asked to invite dad's friends she refused and said there wouldn't be enough room.

Over the next year, my relationship with my dad started to really deteriorate. My stepmom had her sisters over for lunch on one of my stays, and my dad insisted I join them. My dad and I left the table for a minute, and when I came back, I overheard them all talking badly about me. Now, my dad and her are planning to move out of the country, a move I resent as it will be impossible for me to see him. I have only two years before uni, so I need to work incredibly hard. Also, my dad is likely to stop paying the child support fees, as he has done twice before. Despite this, I don't want to lose my dad. I know that when they come to visit the UK, my stepmom will make sure their time here is completely taken up by visiting her family.

Sorry for the ginormous length, thank you for reading. Please help me!

Feeling Left Out

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At An Impass

Dear Amy,

My parents have been divorced for almost 10 years and my dad remarried about seven years ago. My mom is still single. My dad never asked us if we liked his girlfriend, and didn't tell us about the engagement until weeks after. None of my siblings (3 brothers and now 1 stepbrother) liked it. We didn't have a part in the wedding, or wedding pictures. Well, we started off okay at the beginning of the marriage, but after two or three years it got bad. Now we haven't talked in nine months and I live with them every other week. My counsellor has told me its normal, but it's not. What can we do? I'm told to get over it and be the bigger person and talk to her, but she will just tell me that I am disgusting and not worth her time. Its killing me. What do I do?


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I Can Do No Right

Dear Amy,

Can you please help me? I don't know what to do. I'll be 17 in May, so pretty close. My dad and stepmom married when I was seven years old and they've been together since I was two. When I was 12 I moved with my mother about 400 miles away from my dad and stepmom because I couldn't handle my stepmom anymore. She was over controlling and would lie to my dad about me. I knew she hated me, and I hated her, but I told them I wanted to move because my sister (whom I never got to see due to her living in New Mexico with her now deceased father and step mom) was living with our mom for the first time. Then things happened and long story short my mother was not the person I thought she was and I had to move back with my dad and stepmom. I haven't been allowed to talk to my mom in nearly four years. For the majority of the time my stepmom was cool and it seemed like she was a new person, we got along and everything was great. We got into some fights but that's how it goes. But recently things have gotten bad.

In February I got into my first car wreck- it was my fault and now my stepmom has to drive me everywhere. To school, from school, to my votech, from my votech to my work, and my boyfriend usually picks me up from work. I know it's stressful and I feel bad- but for the time being there is nothing I can do about it until my dads decides on what we can do. But that doesn't mean she needs to treat me the way she does. She's always been a little biased towards her children- she treats them like angels and me, not so much. She is always calling me ungrateful and other worse condescending names. She's always sure to remind me that so has no trust for me because a couple years ago my boyfriend I had sex and she found out- she took my phone and my freedom and it's been two years since I've had either. I have to play with her nine year old daughter and five year old son everyday when I'm not busy- even if I have my boyfriend or friends over. I haven't had friends over in a very long time just because of this. Me and my boyfriend try to stay away from house because of both my stepmom and my half-siblings. Don't get me wrong, I love my brother and sister to death- I would take a bullet for both of them. But I'm 17 and I like my alone time. I think every teen does?

I'm a good sister and daughter- I don't do drugs, I don't sneak around behind their backs, I don't party, I don't drink, I have straight A's, I'm in NHS and NTHS, I do what I'm told, I have a job and make decent money. But I mess up once and it's WW 3. But nothing I do right gets accounted for. She loves to point out my flaws and make me feel bad, everyday. I love being at school and work because I'm not with her and anytime I even think about my house or her car my heart sinks and I literately cry because I dread it so much. I've talked to my dad about this multiple times in the past and it helped, but only when he's around. Which is about an hour a day. Then it makes it ten times worse when he's not there. I feel like this whole long letter does not justify how much pain she causes me but I'm worried I am wasting your time. I know I only have a year until I'm 18 and I can leave, but that is not comforting. That makes it worse, a year is like a millennium around her. Please tell me what to do to not make her so mean to me? Why does she hate me?

Thank you for your time,

Can't Deal Much Longer

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Missing Dad

Dear Amy,

I'm 14, and I really need help with my stepmom. My story is a bit complicated but I hope you can help me.

I have two older sisters, and we've never been close with my mom. She always used to curse and pick out fights with us over silly things. Not to be mean ((I still love her with all her negatives) but she is a truly horrible person! On the other side, my dad is the complete opposite. He is very sweet, caring, kind, and we're really close with him.

My older sister (who was really like my mom) was getting married and my other sister and dad were always at work. So we met our nice neighbor who had a daughter and with time, my dad and her got married. She moved in with us, and my other sister got married too. My oldest sister rented a house next to our apartment so she could take extra care for me.

My stepmom became a step-monster. She used to keep telling my dad every wrong thing that I did and sometimes she would make up wrong things. She never cooks, helps around the house, or even cleans up after herself; if she ever does, she reminds us of that every single day. She also made our apartment look like a street on the inside. She made it dirty, and she used to break the furniture and say that it was an accident. It's gotten to the point where I can not invite any of my friends over because my once-luxury apartment turned into a garbage dump.

What is bothering me the most is that my dad is drifting away from me. He used to spend time with me, but now not so much. We used to be okay financially, but now not so much and all he does now is spend time with her. My dad knows about all the things she does everyday, but every time I confront him about it, he would either change the subject or ignore me. I want us to be close again, but that just seems impossible! Please help me and tell me what to do to get my dad back.

Faithfully yours,

Hoping for change

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Left Out of New Family

Dear Amy,

My biological mother died of cancer a few days after I turned two. My father worked abroad for eight and a half years bringing my brother and I with him. In these years, we had house help taking care of us. My father was busy providing for us, so most of the time it was just my brother and I, but he always kept the weekends for us which I truly appreciated. Since I was his only daughter, I know it must have been hard raising me. There was no one teaching me how to dress, no one who taught me how to be a lady growing up, so he usually asked for help from his sisters and my mother's sister.

We moved back to our hometown seven years ago. (I am now fifteen and my brother is sixteen.) It was normal at first, my family and I had this system. My father would always be available for me to talk to and hangout with, it was all nice.

Three years ago, my father met a new woman on a blind date. A year after dating, my father proposed to her and they got married. They also conceived a child, and there is one more on the way. I am frustrated, angry and disappointed because this stepfamily is pushing me away. I feel left out in the family reunions, I feel alone whenever my parents go to new things together, especially with the new kid.

It feels like they are building this whole life without me, and I don't like it one bit. My dad and I don't spend quality time anymore and he treats me like I'm a burden to him now. My stepmother is enforcing all these new stupid rules which make me feel like I live in prison.

I don't know what to do, I don't know how to handle this situation, and I just don't like where I am right now.

Please help me.

Left Out

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Small Things Add Up

Dear Amy,

My step mom isn't really that evil, she is very nice and cares for me like her own. She and my dad have been together for three years now and she has two kids with my dad. I live with my birth mom but I still live with my dad twice a year for about two months.

The problem is that my stepmom has started to care less for me, like I am not that important. Whenever the babies are sleeping she always tells me to be quiet or they will wake up. She keeps on asking me if I can take care of them, and then she goes and does absolutely nothing and leaves me with two babies to take care of.

The biggest is that she really does not like how I dress, she has a very formal style and very girly so she won't let me wear sneakers with skirts or leather jackets, and I don't know why she has a problem when my mom doesn't.

Please help me it would mean a lot to me,

Thank you,

Small problems and has no idea.

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Feeling Like Your Stepmom Doesn't Care

Dear Amy,

My dad and stepmom have been together for 10 years now. At first she was really nice and we had a great relationship.

She began changing when I became a teenager (I'm fifteen so 2-3 years ago). At first it was nothing much, but was just a cold between us. She started talking to me less and ignoring me a little. She started picking on my mom in front of me, telling me she was a bad mother (I live with my mom but go visit my dad every other week end). Then I heard her complaining about me to my dad, saying stuff that wasn't true.

That's when things got worse. She changed the wifi password so I didn't have access to it anymore (being in high school, I needed the internet for a lot of homework). One day I used my dad's old cellphone (which was already connected to the wifi) to go on the internet. She saw me online and confronted me about it, then hid that phone so I couldn't use it anymore. She started locking some doors to rooms in the house she didn't want me to access, but the problem was these rooms held some of MY belongings.

Last summer, I went to get lunch one-on-one with my dad. I talked about what had happened and how I wasn't comfortable around her; I just burst into tears. He had been really comprehensive about it, and told me he would talk to her because that situation couldn't last.

It has been 3 months, he talked to her but nothing changed. WHAT CAN I DO ? I don't want to hurt my dad, none of this is his fault, but I just can't continue living in that sadness. Please help me!


I Don't Know What To Do

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Tired and Angry

Dear Amy,

This is a hard email to write considering how tough it is to explain in words what my stepmother has done to my sister and I. My sister is 11 years old and I am 14, only a year away from when I can finally leave my father's house at 15.

In the very beginning, my stepmom seemed really kind to us by letting us make crafts and stay up late watching the tele and reading. This convinced my sister when she was five that she was a nice person, but I didn't agree at seven. When she moved in with her four year old son, I tried having a one-on-one conversation with my dad telling him how I didn't trust her, but of coarse he didn't believe me because I was only five. Apparently her tall loud self seemed to scare me but that was my problem not his.

The time my dad asked us if we were okay with him marrying her, it was in a small compacted car WITH HER INSIDE. Of coarse I was pressured to say yes because I was terrified of her and couldn't say no. Their wedding day was one of the saddest days of my entire life because it felt like the cage I'd been put into had been locked shut. A little while after the wedding, my stepmother started getting worse and worse. This was when my sister started not liking her. I was a little older then, age eight, so I tried talking to my farther again about this whole marriage thing. He told me that if he hadn't married her, we would all be working at McDonald's trying to live off of what we made, basically saying that he married her for money which is always a bad choice. During this whole process I was telling the only adult I trusted, my mom, what was happening. She told me that I should try and forgive my stepmom, and I tried but my stepmom kept on being mean and loud making it hard to do.

Now, during my freshman year of high school, my stepmom has tried convincing me that my sister is my mother's favorite child. A month ago I had enough from my stepmom because she has crossed the line too far into my personnel boundary, so I ignored everything she was yelling at me on my way to school. By the time I found my friend inside, I just broke down in tears. I asked her if I could spend the night at her house, but her mom said she needed my dad's permission. In the end this didn't work and my dad ended up picking me up early at school.

Again, I can leave my dads house at 15 because the judge will finally listen to my statements, but I am scared to leave for three reasons: 1) It will leave my sister alone in that torture zone, where my stepmom is most likely going to take out all of her anger on her. 2) My dad is very small and introverted, so he will never speak up, and I don't want to hurt him. 3) While all the papers get signed, I am still going to have to stay at my dad's house for at least another six months.

My stepmom took my dad's whole side of the family and friends from me so I have no one to talk to when I'm at his house. I have half a year left till I'm 15 and I still don't know what to do. Can you help me make a choice or make the process easier for me?


Tired Yet Scared

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Feeling Helpless and Hurt

Dear Amy,

I'm sick and tired of my stepmother bossing my sister and I around, she treats us like slaves. She has a son and a daughter too. My dad always believes her; I'm sad as I talk. I'm crying, it hurts too much to even talk about it. Please tell me what to do. Because I feel like we don't belong and I can't do this anymore, but I need to stay for my sister. Thank you.


Feeling Hurt

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Stepdaughter Is Hurt By Stepmom's Rejection

Dear Amy,

I have come to you because I am feeling a lot of pain and emotional strife over my relationship with my stepmother and am just looking for some constructive feedback. People who are close to me do not understand it and I feel very isolated.

My dad and stepmother married when I was 3; I have another younger biological sister between my dad and mom. I was definitely a daddy's girl (still am), where my sister was closer to my mom. My stepmother and I were close growing up, but as I look back on it I see a viscous cycle of badmouthing my mother, me going and telling my mother, then going back to my stepmom and telling her what my mother said. She encouraged the gossip and I didn't know any better, but it unfortunately created a somewhat toxic bond. My father worked a lot and so my stepmother was definitely the disciplinarian at my dad's house. I adored and looked up to my dad, but he allowed the toxic relationship to continue and didn't have much to do with deciding on how to discipline me. My mom worked full time and I was a latch key kid when my days were spent at her home. My dad and stepmother had three additional children (who I adore) and I grew up as somewhat of a live in babysitter. My younger sister was born when I was 15.

I am now 30 and after some incredibly difficult growing pains, my stepmother wants nothing to do with me. She has a relationship with my younger biological sister and her three children, but will not have one with me. I consider her a toxic person in my life, but feel incredibly rejected and hurt. My dad has to sneak a relationship with me because she does not like that he gives me things or has a relationship with me. Her children have a very different life than I was provided and she does not like when my dad provides resources (access to the family cabin, birthday gifts, etc.) to me. It is most painful though when my biological sister and her have a relationship and I am not included. When my sister brings up that they hung out or were talking on the phone, it makes my blood boil and I am immediately in a bad mood.

I have been excluded from family events (Christmas, my dad's 50th birthday, etc.), and every time I do see her I just tell her hello and try and be very nice. It hurts and is exhausting to constantly try and be nice to someone who wants nothing to do with me, but I don't want to say how I really feel to her because I feel like it puts my dad in the middle (kind of forces him to choose) and I don't want to bring that stress to him. My dad and I have a nice relationship now and I don't want to ruin it. I am not close to my biological mom (she does not like my dad and constantly talks badly about him). I have had to enable boundaries with both my stepmother and mother in order to keep the viscous gossiping cycle at bay. This did not go over well with my mother and she is very hurt that I did that.

I feel very alone and stuck. I am not sure how to get over the pain of feeling rejected by my stepmom, but don't even know why I care since I consider her such a toxic person. I was wondering what the best way to handle my emotions of feeling rejected is, and how to handle the jealousy I feel for my other siblings, especially my biological sister. I know I can not change my stepmother, but all I know what to do is treat her with grace and walk away. I'm feeling a bit tired though.

Thank you for your feedback. 


Feeling Rejected

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Stepdaughter Feels Burdened

Dear Amy,

My dad married a woman 16 years ago and she has been nothing but awful to me. She put on a show to my dad’s entire family and once the knot was tied she began trying to make our lives miserable. I grew up with a stepfather that raised and loved me as his own and never treated me differently than my sister (his and my mother’s daughter). Then on the other side of the spectrum I had an insane, selfish, insecure woman trying to control my dad. My dad and her have two kids together and they both adore me, but I’m lucky if I see my siblings once a year or get to speak with them on their birthdays. My dad’s family really took the role of my dad in my life, especially my grandfather. Recently he passed away extremely unexpectedly, and he was my protector when it came to my stepmom or bad decisions that my dad would make.

I found out today that my dad has been cheating on his wife for about 8 months. My dad has never been a cheater, he didn't cheat on my mom during their marriage and I never thought he would in this marriage. He began to feel bad about it and ended it with the woman, so she sent my stepmom a letter about what was going on. My dad was planning on telling my grandfather before he passed away, but he has been speaking to his mother everyday since my grandfather’s passing and he hasn’t told her yet. I am about to be 24 and I understand why he cheated on her; she’s awful to him but he stays because she’s seriously insane and that’s near impossible to prove because she’s a functioning adult and they have children together (she also treats them pretty awful).

Now they are trying to make things work and I think it is ridiculous. Obviously the relationship is doomed. I am the first person in the family that he has told about his affair. I know my dad - he is a good person, can be selfish at times, but overall a good person. He said that he did it because he wanted to hurt her for all the pain she has caused him. She makes his life horrible if he sees his family, or takes their kids to see his family. She punishes the kids, 11 and 13, if they see or speak to me.

I don’t know what to do. I can tell he feels terrible about it, and now he is trying to make things work with her. He told her that she has to accept and be a part of his family's life, but I know that she’s never going to accept me or the rest of my dad’s family into her life or her “family." I want him to leave her, I want him with somebody who will make him happy and do the simple things of accepting his family. I don't know what to do, what to tell him, or who to confide in.


Confused and Hurting

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It Happened to My Sisters and Now It's Happening to Me

Dear Amy,

I have been having a lot of problems with my stepmom, and when I saw this website I decided to ask for help. I'm 13 and my dad and stepmom have been married for 5 years. My stepmom started off all nice; she would buy me an my sisters things (I have two sisters and one stepsister) and would take us places.

When my oldest sister was 18, she stopped going to college. She got into college because she worked her butt off to get scholarships; my dad and step mom didn't pay a penny. My sister came back home while she looked for a new college that was closer to home and closer to her job. My stepmom wouldn't let her stay more than three months and made my sister feel like crap all the time, saying how her daughter was never this irresponsible and lazy. It was awful how she treated her, but my dad was oblivious. After my stepmom threw my sister onto the streets, my sister met a guy and they got engaged. My sister didn't want anyone at the wedding because they just wanted a small intimate thing between the two of them. My stepmom made it a big deal and told my dad how disrespectful she was to not have anyone at the wedding. My dad believed her, and long story short my dad and sister haven't talked in thee years.

My middle sister is now 18. Last year, she got her first car. My mom have her 1,000 dollars and my dad gave her 1,000 dollars and got a car for a good deal. My sister payed 700 dollars. My stepmom started being horrible to my sister, saying how she had to pay them back the 1,000 dollars for the car and how she had to give them money for the insurance they payed (they payed for two months of insurance). Eventually my sister got tired of her making her life hell for not paying them fast enough (she was 17 and had a job at subway, I don't know how much money she was expected to give), and she moved in with my mom who started helping her pay for her insurance every month. The car was still in my dad and stepmom's name because they wouldn't just put it in her name. So on the day that they put the car in her name, my stepmom called my sister a little whore who didn't deserve my dad's money. So as you can imagine, my sister doesn't talk to them anymore. I know it's not like the money was a huge deal because I found out that my stepmom recently bought herself a 2,000 diamond bracelet.

My dad is really depressed now because my sisters won't talk to him. Now my stepmom is starting to be mean to me all the time and making my life awful. I want my family back together and I want her out of my life. I can't keep seeing my dad depressed all the time. I know the only reason she is with my dad is so she can have money (we aren't rich but my dad has a steady income). I hate her and I want her gone. I don't want to go live with my mom because I don't want to leave my dad with the witch. Please help me get rid of my stepmom. I need to protect my family at all costs. Thank you!



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Feeling Like a Target at Home

Dear Amy,

I have a very mean, vindictive, and rude stepmother. She's horrible to my sisters and I. It seems like every few months she has to start a fight with me about the dumbest things. She tries to make my life a living hell and she tries to make me scared of her.

The other night she started a fight with me again. My dad, brother, her and I were all at dinner and she started telling me that my little brother was not allowed to joke around with me because I'll just get mad. I've gotten mad at my little brother once because he poured soda down my back. When this happened she got mad at me for yelling at him, and my dad was pissed at her because she treats me horribly.

Well during this particular fight at dinner she told me she hated me and a lot of mean stuff, but for once I didn't take it. I told her that I was done with her making my life hell and that I wasn't going to let her win anymore or scare me. I want her to know that I'm not going to back down and let her treat me wrong anymore. How do I do this? I would hate to have to be a total b word but I feel like if I don't she won't ever understand that I'm serious. I don't want to be scared of her anymore either.

- Pissed Off

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