Dear Sasha, About 9 years ago, during my first year of university, my parents split up. As all divorces are, it was a tough time for everyone in the family, but in the end we all knew it was for the best. My dad had never really been single before and rushed into trying to find a new Mrs as soon as possible for comfort. He power-dated for a few months then found someone he had a connection with and shacked up almost immediately. She was a pretty nice woman and my sister and I really wanted to see our Dad happy so we were supportive.

Here's the problem- after they got married she went off her anti-depressants. She has since become irrational, verbally abusive, controlling, basically everything you would expect from the evil stepmother archetype. My sister and I are both adults but she will not let my Dad hang out with us just US and not her.  She overspends obscene amounts of my father's money on herself and her kids but takes issue if my father contributes a few dollars towards the transportation for us to visit him.

The most troubling part is how badly her and her kids treat my dad. It's gotten to the point where my sister and I don't even want to visit because it's painful to watch. They constantly yell at him and berate him despite the fact that he supports them all, cooks dinner every night (even though he works full time and my step-mother does nothing), etc. My sister, father and I have all spoken about this. He knows it's not right but between love, fear, and the desire to not be alone divorce is not something that is being considered. He would like her to go back on her medication in the hopes that she will return to the lovely woman he first met, but every time he brings it up she flips out. It's just heartbreaking, I want to be supportive of my dad but I hate being around his wife! Is there anything I can do??  'C


There’s not enough sugar in the world to spin this into a good situation; C, this straight up sucks ass.

I’m sad to hear that your dad would rather be with a wretched bitch than be on his own.  But here’s the deal, your pops is a grown-up and if this is the woman he chooses to be with, well, that’s that. 

You’ve already discussed how you feel about it, so other than kidnapping his ass or spiking her drink with her meds, you can’t do much more.  The only thing you can do is to continue to express your concerns and hope that one day he sees the light. 

Now, I’m sure there are readers out there who think that you should confront her kids, but in my opinion that’s a bad idea.   If they’re bullying and treating your dad like sh-t too, then honestly, they don’t sound all too stable either.  Engaging them will only stir up an even bigger sh-t storm and will divide the family up even more.

The way I see it, the one thing you can control is the relationship with your father, so my advice would be to make sure you continue to maintain it.  I know it will be hard, but you can’t let this situation destroy your bond.  That would just be stupid and a major loss for everyone.   So C, make sure that you schedule as much alone time with him as possible.  Okay?  

In the meantime if you do have to be around her, take a look at this site:  It has a lot of helpful ways to deal with, manage and diffuse difficult situations. 

Keep me posted! Xx