Stepmom issues

mom2emallMarch 16, 2009

I am having issues with my own stepmom. At times I have felt like she is jealous of my father's relationship with me and my youngest sister. He used to stop at my house often during running errands until she complained so much he stopped. My youngest sister has a different mother and her mother died when she is young. My dad has overcompensated that for he whole life and has always done too much for her. I know that my stepmom resents that. She often gets angry when he gives my sister money and says that he spends more on her than on their child they have together. I partially understand her feelings, but I partially think she is being selfish. Especially since he pays her daughter from a previous marriages cell phone bills and splits both of her kids private school tuitions with their dad (my stepmom does not work).

Anyways my sister was at my dads the other day and was upset becuase her roommate was supposed to move out last weekend (they have not been getting along and the girl has not stayed there in a month or payed any bills...just left her things there). Her friend did not show and my sister was saying she wanted my dad to help her change her locks so her ex roomate had to get her things only when my sister was home. My dad agreed to help.

Then my stepmom piped up with "well who is paying for new locks?" It is one lock that needs to be changed...the deadbolt! You don't have to spend tons of money to get one. So my sister got mad and told my stepmom to stay out of it and began calling my stepmom names. My stepmom lashed back and called my sister a whore and piece of sh**. My sister is pregnant and was seeing someone when she got pregnant. Problem is that her and her ex slept together once during that. So my sister is not sure which one is the father and told both guys the truth. So that comment really upset her and she slapped my stepmom after she said that. Then my stepmom clawed my sisters arm. My dad broke it up and told my sister to leave. Without my dad knowing my stepmom called the police and they showed up to let my stepmom press charges!

My dad got her to not press charges. They called me last night and told me about it and so did my sister. I told them all that both of them were wrong for the things they said and for getting physical. I blame them both. My sister should know better and let her anger get the best of her and so did my stepmom who is supposed to be the adult.

Anyways my stepmom told my dad that she is no longer doing family dinners but he could if he wants to (while I was on the phone). He told her to calm down and they would talk later and she was yelling about it! I told my dad that I could have my sister over a different day for family dinners so they could keep their day we usually do it.

Now I am mad at my stepmom. She cancelled on our last family dinner saying she was sick. My sister had stopped over there that day and said the cough was very mild.

I feel like she is trying to make my dad choose her or us. I have tried to be nice to her. I have never said anything mean to her. I have always talked nicely about her to relatives. I have not mentioned her gambling problem to relatives and my dad is not contemplating claiming bankruptcy becuase he is having problems. He will not admit she gambles too much....but she is at the gambling places at least once every two weeks. He swears that her mother pays for this because they go together. She always gets free rooms and I doubt she is not a big gambler to get those comps all the time.

I am just so frustrated!!!!!

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Wow, that sounds like a pretty intense fight. I agree with you that both your sister and your stepmother said things they shouldn't have said, and when it escalated to physical harm that obviously made it worse.

I think it would be a mistake in that case to try and determine who is the party 'at fault', because it sounds like they both were. Technically your sister 'started it' by being the first to escalate it to name calling and being the first to start letting it get physical... but I can also see where your stepmom was being provocative and meddling by asking about the locks with a judgmental tone in the first place... AND she certainly had a choice once the argument began as to how she could respond. She chose to call your sister a whore and scratch her instead of saying: "you know what? I'm going to remove myself from this right now and cool off and maybe we can talk about it more when we both calm down". To be fair, your sister could have said this too, but my point is that they were both party to it and therefore it would be wrong of your stepmom to now act like it was just a wrong that was committed against HER, i.e pressing charges. That's why I agree with your Dad that pressing charges was not the appropriate way to deal with the situation.

Sounds like extra stress & uncertainty in your sister's life has been making her extra touchy (on top of pregnancy hormones) and I guess for your stepmom's part she may be extra worried about every dollar because of the combination of being financially dependent on your Dad and having a secret gambling problem. Neither can really be feeling all that good about her own choices and her own inability to get by independently. Both of them are in financially and emotionally unstable situations, and it sounds like to some extent they each blame the other for their problems, or at least partly. Each probably thinks the other is a selfish, weak-willed hypocrite. It's probably easier for each of them to lash out at each other than to feel the fear each of them probably does about what's going to happen and if they will each be okay or if the circumstances they each put themselves in will spin out of their control.

Hopefully, everyone can sit down and talk and try to acknowledge/understand everyone else's stress and worries, or at least 'agree to disagree' as to how each should be conducting their lives according to the other. It's your stepmother's right to back out of dealing with your sister if she can't handle it (and vice-versa), but she wouldn't have the right to dictate how your Dad should conduct his own relationship with his daughter. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:24PM
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sounds like Jerry Springer show, doesn't sound like either sister or a stepmom know how to behave appropriatelly, in fact they deserve each other. the pregnant one has a bit of an excuse like hormones but what is the deal wiht the stepmom?

I am not surprised that family dinners get cancelled, it actually is a good thing, it doesn't sound like the kind of family one wants to have dinners wiht. i would not want to have family dinners when there is a risk of domestic violence or name calling. I think you could maintain relationships wiht these people separatelly like see your sister or your dad or stepmom or whoever but stay away from gatherings. Everyone has some strange behaviors in the family but name calling or physical abuse is a bit more than one needs to handle. Especially if you have children, exposing them to such behavior is a bad idea.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:32PM
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I do not want them all over together again either. I told them all they could still do dinner with us every month...just not all together. Now my stepmom does not want to come to my home at all?? Me and my hubby and kids had nothing to do with this all. I feel like it just an excuse for her to put distance between my dad and me.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 2:57PM
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Maybe you should try to explain this very concern to your Dad & SM in a gentle way. From what you wrote, it sounds like you may be the 'peacekeeper' in that blended family, or the more 'neutral' party, and that can be to your advantage here. If they tend to regard you as being more level-headed and 'together', SM might take the message a lot more seriously coming from you than your sister that there's a need to keep the boundaries very delineated. Not just the boundaries between who will share space with who at dinner, but the boundaries of what SM is/isn't allowed to dictate (in terms of potentially driving you and your sister apart from your Dad) and even the boundaries of who she is even mad at. I think as long as you are gentle about how you say it and make it clear you're trying to preserve relationships as opposed to destroy them, you can safely say something like:

"SM, I understand that you are angry and upset with my sister, and I even can see your side on some of your upsets with her, but I am about maintaining relationships. Because of that, my fear is that due to the issues between the two of you, me and Dad will be drawn into it and our relationships with everyone and with each other will suffer. The fear is that this conflict will expand and tear the family apart, all because of a few things you and my sister disapprove of between you two. You can see how that would be scary, painful and unfair right? So how can we keep that from happening? What solutions can we come up with so that everyone has a right to their personal upsets but the relationships are kept separate and respected?"

I don't think there's any way she could get offended or upset at a discussion like this, especially because that statement would end with an appeal to her logical mind and the assumption that she, too, wants to be mature about things and not let the family get torn apart. Again, you have a real advantage over your sister in being able to say these things to SM & your Dad (btw, I'd definitely make sure they were BOTH present to hear it simultaneously) because it sounds like there would be less automatic distrust of you.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Well yesterday my sister talked to my dad and blamed my stepmom for the whole mess. My dad defended my stepmom to her. Then I guess he went and reemed my stepmom out and said that she started this by butting into their conversation in the first place and that my sister is young and my stepmom should know better. Then my stepmom called my hysterically crying.

So I talked to my dad and told him that no matter what he does he is going to be the jerk in it all! I told him that he should let my sis and sm hate eachother or love eachother or whatever they want to do and he should stay out of it! I said that after what happened I understand my sm not wanting my sis at their home and told my dad why not see my sister at her home or at my home instead.

I told my sm that I understood her frustration with my sister. Many of the issues she has with her I have had in the past as well. But I told her that certain things she said helped to initiate the argument, though she did not deserve it getting physical. She agreed. I asked her what she thought of my dad just staying out of it and letting her and my sister just not talk for a while and see what happens. She said she loved the idea and just wanted to forget about the whole thing and keep distance from my sister for a while. I told her that we can still do family dinners at my house and that I will not have my sister over for dinner on nights they come.

So I think all is well and peaceful...for now! Maybe I should have been a counselor?? HAHA

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:41AM
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