I have been married for one year…. I knew that my husband had a six‑year‑old daughter whose mother had abandoned her when she was eleven months old…. I started using the past against my husband. We did a lot of arguing. I threw dishes around in front of the little girl….

Things have gotten better with him. We don’t argue anymore, but the girl gets on my nerves. I ignore her and speak to her coarsely. Once I found a picture of her mother, and I was surprised to see that she looks exactly like her. That’s why I just can’t stand the girl. When she does anything wrong, I scream at my husband that she is a mistake that he made and that he’d better take care of her…. I have come to the place where I wish she was dead…. I don’t like that feeling….

I don’t know how to make things better, how to love her like a daughter and stop seeing her as the negative consequences of my husband’s past…

Dear Friend,

You did the right thing by writing to us. We chose your case this week because we believe that it is a matter of life and death. Please take what we have to say very seriously and share it with your husband immediately. You will not like what we have to say, but remember that you asked for our advice.

Your attitude and actions are mentally abusing your stepdaughter every day, and we are worried for her life. A person with the anger and bitterness that you have can be very dangerous, especially to a defenseless child who has no way to stop the abuse. This little girl has already lost one mother, and you are adding to that pain by daily teaching her that stepmothers are violent and hateful. How can she ever grow up to be normal with this kind of experience?

For the sake of the child, we beg you to take your belongings and leave immediately. Maybe the marriage can be annulled, but even if it can’t, you must end it. You don’t say that you love your husband, but if you do love him, you will set him free to take care of himself and his daughter. On the other hand, if you don’t love him, then why not leave and put an end to this constant conflict?

It is obvious that in your mind, you consider the little girl to be some kind of rival for your husband’s affection. You are jealous of her because she has been in a relationship with him longer than you have, and he loves her. But she is just a child, and the kind of love he has for her is not the same as he has for you. We believe that you have some psychological issues from your past that have not been resolved and that, because of this, you are reacting to the child in a completely inappropriate and destructive way. After you have moved out, please get help from a psychologist or professional counselor so that you can learn to deal with your anger and bitterness.

The apostle Paul has a prescription for you. He says, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”(1) Please do whatever it takes to follow Paul’s advice as well as ours by getting rid of these negative and destructive emotions and actions.

Do it today!

Linda and Charles
1 Col 3:8