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saw as starkly rejecting herself and her children, aided and abetted by her in-laws and stepchildren.

Respondent 3. D’s marital bond was continually tested by the dichotomy born of biological favoritism. This appeared in her twenty-two year marriage as a seemingly permanent sense of “your family/my family.” Sadly, it worked its way into the next generation, inherited by her step-grandchildren, especially when their parents were present.

This family’s cycle of dichotomy justified D’s lies of omission to her husband: “I never tell him when I splurge on gifts for my 2 bio-grandchildren…I know that financially we cannot afford to splurge for 13 grandchildren…[yet] I want to recognize my 2 bio-grandchildren for the simple fact that they are my bio, [so] I do things for them without informing my husband.” The repercussions of the biological split into “yours and mine” permeated and challenged her marital bond.

D was a stepmother competing for position of co-parent with her oldest stepdaughter. Typically, “…My oldest stepdaughter assumes the role of mother with all

the children. Whenever redirect that decision.”

I make a decision [relating to] my daughter, she feels the need to Historically, this caused a problem in D’s marriage. She fought

to protect herself from the tight coalition formed by her husband and his oldest child. Ultimately she also found she wanted to protect her youngest daughter from her older half-sister’s attempts to parent; however, her daughter did not want protection, and in fact, turned on her mother by siding with her half-sister.

She noted that, “My husband sees [oldest stepdaughter’s input] as my stepdaughter showing her love for my daughter. I see it as negative influence.” D felt compelled, but unable, to protect her daughter from her stepdaughter’s “negative influence.” Furthermore, her husband advocated for the stepdaughter despite D’s expressed concerns. Both of these daughters were her husband’s biological daughters. D was in an unsupported position, both as mother and stepmother, where the coalition was strong between her husband and his two daughters. This emphasized her husband’s continuing lack of support for D, as they had been locked in disagreement about the oldest stepdaughter since long before their own daughter was born.

D rejected this stepdaughter at the start of their marriage by threatening divorce. Her husband’s response was to send his daughter to live with friends, which lasted for a couple of weeks. D implied it was a short respite, suggesting a sense that her stepdaughter was a burden to her. D also commented that this daughter was her husband’s favorite child. This stepcouple was organized from the earliest stages of their marriage in a cycle of rejection and protection. Although D noted her husband is now more supportive, earlier in the interview she discussed current coalitions in the present tense. D had lengthy experience with considering her husband an adversary.

Respondent 4. L clearly described the ways that lying and manipulation affected her relationship. She said that lies and manipulation were woven into their marital fabric, noting, “…[my husband] used to lie to me a lot.” This cycle began before their marriage, when her husband lied to her to spend time with his ex-wife. L’s husband was attempting reconciliation for the sake of the children: “[my husband] is very devoted to his children.” L also related that “…lying has made me not trust him, that is why I started


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