As salamu alaykum dear sister,
Shokran for writing to our live session with your concerns and issues. I am very sorry to hear all that you have been going through not only with your stepdaughter. I can imagine it is very hurtful. May Allah swt grant ease.
Problems with Stepdaughter
As I understand your situation, you married a man who is 16 years older than you. He has three daughters. You and your husband have a son together who is now 12 years old. You state that over the years, you heard about jealous comments about him, mostly from the daughter who is married to your brother.
While it bothered you, you never mentioned it to your husband because you didn’t want your husband to be hurt. Your stepdaughter has also been rude to you. As you moved from the UK to Pakistan after you were married, most of your family is in the UK. As a result, your husband takes your son and you on holidays to the UK to visit family. On one specific trip, your husband seemed to change. As your younger brother got cancer, it brought the family closer, but it caused problems in other areas regarding your husband’s daughter.
Taking the First Step
It appears that your husband’s daughter doesn’t get invited to your family events and dinners because they feel that she omits them from her dinner parties. This appears to be trivial misunderstandings which are causing big problems. It may take one person, insha’Allah you sister, to take the bigger step and invite your husband’s daughter to family dinners. While it may at first cause problems with your family, you may wish to explain that as Muslims, this is the Islamic thing to do and you should request that they treat her with kindness. It doesn’t matter how your stepdaughter acts in regard to not inviting your family to dinners, what does matter is how you act and respond as well as your family. Her treatment of your family will be between her and Allah.
Hurt and Offended Husband and Stepdaughter
It is understandable that your husband may feel hurt or offended if his daughter is not invited to family dinners. However, he should not be rude to you or treat you unkind. He should understand that it is not your fault. You may wish to speak with your husband in regard to the situation, stating that you are in the process of rectifying this with your family.
As the situation now is becoming more intense, it needs to be resolved as soon as possible. According to you, both your husband and his daughter started being rude to you, with your husband not speaking to you for a few days. Your stepdaughter also started talking to your husband feeding his mind with bad things about you. Your husband did try to resolve the differences between you and his daughter, but she used this moment as an emotional release for all of her negative feelings and hurt.
Healing the Hurt
Sister based on what you have written concerning her responses, it sounds like she is feeling very hurt, left out, and jealous. While some of her hurt and anger may be stemming from when she was young, unfortunately, it is coming out now. As you did point out your husband’s financial circumstances were different when he was married to her mother, thus resulting in them living more frugally.
Sister, I kindly suggest that you let this situation cool off for a bit now that you are back in Pakistan. When things are calm, I kindly suggest insha’Allah that you speak with your husband. Tell your husband that you love all the children very much (despite how you may feel about his one daughter). Ask your husband if he has any suggestions to resolve the situation. As this is his daughter, he knows her very well and what techniques may help the situation.
Ask him to help you work out this issue between you and his daughter. Even if you feel like you do not love her, please for the sake of Allah and for the sake of peace in the family, tell your husband that you do love her, and you want to resolve the relationship. This may mean putting aside differences, jealousies, hurt and moving forward. It may mean having to overlook things such as not being invited to dinner parties. It may mean having to overlook her jealousies, insecurities, and hurt feelings until she can resolve them and heal. By proposing to start the relationship with your stepdaughter on a fresh new page, insha’Allah it may bring great blessings in the future. As you understand that she is hurt, and this is why she acts out, your approach can be different.
Moving Forward and Trusting in Allah
Once you accept her feelings for being valid in her mind, perhaps you can help her work through them by being loving and supportive despite her being cruel. This is very hard to do sister, but with Allah’s mercy and help, the situation can be rectified insha’Allah. Make duaa to Allah to put love in both of your hearts and to heal the relationship with your stepdaughter. Trust in Allah to repair the differences between you.
Sister, I encourage you to speak with your husband and ask for his guidance and suggestions to repair the relationship. I also encourage you to put aside family squabbles and disagreements regarding her and focus on building a new relationship with her. It may take a while as there is a history of pain and mistreatment, however with persistence, kindness and patience insha’Allah you and your stepdaughter will be able to have a loving relationship one day soon. In the meantime, try not to look at your husband differently, he is trying to cope with the situation just as you are. While he needs to be more supportive of you, it appears he is doing his best. We wish you the best.