False Reality

Rae01August 25, 2012

I posted recently about my stepmother and Christmas. She and I don't have much of a relationship. We see eachother maybe 2 or 3 times a year despite living about 10 minutes from eachother. I can be cordial and friendly towards her, but there's a lot of bad history between us cause of her badmouthing my mom when I was younger. It was quite clear she wanted my dad to step up and be a stepdad to her daughter, but she had no interest in being a stepmom to me. True I had a mom I lived with who is a wonderful mother, but my stepmother acted annoyed just by my precence. When I'd visit my dad would always tell me not to "bother" his wife and a big deal about me showing Stepmom I loved her always telling me "make sure you hug her before you leave". Everything was about not bothering her and making her feel loved. And then there was my stepsister who lived there who wouldn't say a word to me when I'd visit, and not much has changed. She barely speaks to anyone. I could've used another loving adult (stepmom) in my life, but instead she caused a lot of pain, and I've even been to therapy because of her. She even sent me emails about what a horrible stepdaughter I was and how lucky I was to even have a stepmother cause some people aren't lucky enough to have stepparents in their life. Everything is always about her, her ego, and her importance in the family. She's always wanting to take "credit" for having a part in raising me, although she never did. In fact if my dad ever helped me out financially(like when i was in college) he'd tell me not to let my stepmother know, whereas she expected him to pay for everything for her daughter. I can let go and not dwell on the past but I will always keep her a bit at arms length. Even if she acted like the sweetest person on earth now, the past was so painful that I really have no desire to a form a relationship with her. She can live her life and I'll live mine as thats always been the kind of relationship we had. We always have just stayed out of eachothers way. She hardly ever calls me (maybe once a year to ask about what i'm getting dad for christmas) and has NEVER once wanted to do anything with me alone. I have actually never done anything with her without my dad there. My dad is the only reason for our relationship, and we don't have our own relationship outside of him.

But now all that hurt(badmouthing my mom, sending me hateful emails, telling me i can't visit when her family is over, excluding me from vacations) is in the past and I fake niceness and politeness just like I would for any family member I don't care for but need to be polite towards to "keep the peace". However my stepmother misinterprets my politeness for closeness. Although she never seeks me out to do anything with her, she goes around telling everyone (her family and my dad's family) how close we are. But I avoid her like the plague. I tolerate her at holidays and thats it. Stepmom talks about how when I have kids and she's a grandma(i'm nowhere near to being pregnant) as if she'll be super involved in my kids lives or something. She seriously thinks we have a good relationship. I'm not going to tell her we don't, but boy has she rewritten history. She talks about how she helped raise me (really those 4 days a month she saw me from age 12 and up when she spent the weekend telling me horrible things about my mother who she had never even met), how she's a parent to me, ect. I find it insulting and so disrespectful to my mother who sacrificed so much for me and pretty much raised me on her own. My dad and stepmother were not involved in my life other than those 4 days a month. Now as an adult I've gotten much closer to my dad and learned to at least be friendly towards his wife, but I hate how she rewrites history and confuses my politeness for a close relationship. Now she hasn't badmouthed my mom in probably over a decade, which is good as its nice that my mom, dad and his wife can all be friendly. Now she goes around bragging about what a good relationship she has with my mother. But if you call her on that rewritten history of hers she will either start screaming at me or say that never happened.I try to avoid talking about the past and just let her live in fantasyland thinking she's a "parent" to me (although I will always consider her my dad's wife) cause unless I agree with her 100% there will be a scene. She tells me how "step" is a dirty word, and tries to force me to think of myself as "her daughter" which I won't. What is so wrong with being stepmother and stepdaughter? But she won't accept it. We have to be like a nuclear family in order for he to be happy. But her desire to force me to think of her as a parent has actually driven us apart. She's also rewritten history so much that she tells everyone how I was an "itty bitty 5 year old" when she married my dad. Umm my parents were still married when I was 5. Dad and Stepmom married when I was 12, and at that point I didn't need or want another parent in my life.

But seeing how I see her so little maybe its not important. But it does make the times I see her difficult with Stepmom talking about the past and how "she" helped raised me. I bite my tongue a lot to avoid a scene. And my dad is either oblivious or just doesn't want to cause waves with his wife. So as long as I stay in line and let her have her fantasy we have a cordial relationship. Even with all of this I wouldn't say we have a horrible relationship, its just a relationship based on avoidance.

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I could have used another loving adult (stepmom)in my life, but she caused me a lot of pain....Dad and stepmom married when I was 12 and at that point I didnt want or need another parent in my life....Well, which is it????? You sound really confused...All the stuff about re written history, , you rarely see her and she hasnt bad mouthed your mom in 10 years? But yet you bring it up and she screams at you???? Why bring it up at all? And your mom dad and SM are all friendly, but shes never met her? Why dont you just keep avoiding her? Sounds like you re really trying to engage her and cause some of these problems yourself...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:53AM
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I'm so sorry.

You might google "narcissistic personality disorder" & maybe "histrionic" something, maybe it's a personality disorder too.

Nobody can have a satisfying, normal relationship with a person who has these traits, but knowing what it is makes it easy to let things go.

Your poor dad.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Actually as an adult with no real desire to interact with this SM and every little interaction (a few times a year for an afternoon?), why bother to give it all so much thought?

On the rare times you have to be around her, who cares what stupid fantasy garbage falls out of the woman's mouth? As long as she is not sitting there bad mouthing you and/or your mother, but instead is just rambling on about silly crap that seems in live in her weird little head only, let her. Why a need to confront? You know it's crap. Dad knows it's crap. If someone else also there that hears her, the other person is nothing to you (who cares what some random friend/relative of SM's believes, odds are that other person actually knows the truth too).

What it sounds more like, is you're ichting for a confrontation that you feel is long over due. If so, and it really bothers you so much, why even interact with her?

Surely in your adult life you've had to spend the afternoon with someone you dislike and/or thinks is 'nuts'. Sometimes such times are due to necessity, other times a mere sense of obligation. Usually in such situations one does not 'call out' the offensive/delusional (unless as said there is bad mouthing and similar offenses going on)....so you have a choice. Either avoid the lady or tolerate her.

If you're truly looking for something like a confrontation and a clearing of the airs. One where you get to tell the Sm exactly what you think of her, her behavior over the years and how much she hurt you, perhaps you need to seek out some additional counseling. Not to tell you so much your feelings are wrong or that you don't have a right to feel such way, but instead to help you deal with your inner feelings and positive ways to deal with them.

Yes, you are doing some polite interacting with her to 'save peace' a few times a year, but it's leaving you torn and confused. Perhaps the additional counseling could help you decide whether the bit of interaction is the correct thing to do for you personally and/or if it is in your best interest to cease and avoid the visits with her.

Right now, you're giving this woman way too much power to control and play with your inner feelings. It's not healthy for you. Example: a future grandchild. You don't see this lady but a few times yourself as it is now. Why dwell on a child that is not here and if Sm does not bother to barely remember you even exist now, I'd bank she'll not have any time or need for the child either. She's just blowing meaningless hot air. She now wants nothing but an occassional few hours a year of your time. She certainly won't become 'grandma of the year' to any future child based on a few times/hours a year. A young child won't even recongnize her from visit to visit and an older one will see right through her charade.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Needing another loving adult is not the same as needing another parent.

Also, the SM said mean things about the Mom prior to meeting her. She has met her as of today and is on friendly terms.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Raek, she put stepmom in parentheses , a quasi parent figure anyway......For seeing her stepmom so little and effecting her so strongly, it seems like an over reaction to the woman..I m always wary of the "sainted mother "who is insulted and disrespected..I always suspect a PASing mother who is also doing bad mouthing of the SM, but that never seems to come out. In fact I have no doubt Rae will be back to say her mother NEVER said a bad word about SM...And I wont believe it for a minute..Some kids just will never accept having a SM, and assign her all kinds of horrible traits and exagerations, and perceptions that just arent there...I ve seen these kids feeling displaced,and envious , or whatever, many times in my friends and families lives, and trying to villanize many good sweet decent people just trying to make a step family work.Its like they are always darned if you do, darned if you dont. You cant make them happy..Please some body tell me you are an SM that hasnt badmouthed the BM, tried to be civil, kind and still the SK cant be pleased....As for me personally, I am dads wife, thats the way I like it..I have no issues with that. Never has a word, good bad or indifferent slipped out of my mouth about BM...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 3:21PM
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I agree with Dotz that you are very confused.

You need to see that your stepmom is not the only adult that you're angry with. Everything that you resent about your stepmom is also true of your Dad. He only saw you four days a month, and you can be sure that all those "badmouth" words came directly from your Dad since he's the one that knew your Mom. However, for some reason you've made a big effort to forgive your Dad and paint him as an "oblivious" figure with a terrible wife. That's the fantasy in this picture.

It's clear that you're unhappy about the family that your father built for himself with your Stepmom and Stepsister. You don't have a single good word to say about it. You clearly resent the existence of that family, yet at the same time resent having been excluded from it. You've cast yourself as the defender of your Mom, as if she were a martyr that needed defending by you. I suspect that you weren't a little ray of sunshine in your teen years if you were angry all the time. It's possible that those weekends were pretty tough for your Dad and Stepmom, and now they're making a big effort to put the past behind them and be positive around you. I think that you should do the same.

You have a choice here. You can continue to be an angry outsider in your Dad's family. Or you can try to join that family. Try to be more objective about your parents. There's a side to every story. Make an effort to get to know your Stepmom as a person. Ask her to do something or go somewhere with you. At this point, you have nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Very well said SM of 3...She is resentful of the family, but is ticked off at being "excluded" Excluding from vacations????Cant a married couple take a vacation with out SK/Bios? Go with whoever they choose? I dont get it..You said it way better than me,re badmouthing.. only info SM has comes from Dad and he s off the hook...I often think BM has NOONE to tell her anything about me, but I have heard plenty from DH about her...SS has told me horrible things his mom has told him about me,altho she has NO knowledge of me whatsoever, all lies of course, I live far, far away....Yes, my dads fine, I just hate HER...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Wow some really cruel words some of you said. I'm not saying my mother is any kind of saint. However my mother didn't dislike my SM until she knew how SM treated me(and again they hadn't even met at that point). And I didn't even tell my mom half of how my dad and sm treated me. There was a lot she didn't know cause I was too scared to say anything. But what mother is just going to stand by and let her child be hurt?

As far as being excluded from vacations, i wasn't saying for my dad and stepmother to never take a vacation alone. What I was saying was stepsis was included in my dad's family vacation (my grandparents, aunts uncles couins)that I also went on. But when my stepmom's family(her parents, siblings, and their kids) took a vacation that my dad, stepmom, and stepsister went on I wasn't invited. Yet then SM would get upset I don't consider or call her parents Grandma and Grandpa? Why should I? I'm not considered a full member of that family. Stepmom's own sister has told her she should include me more if that tells you anything.

As far as the badmouthing, yes my dad did badmouth my mother. But my stepmother did take it further by badmouthing my maternal grandma (who she also had never met) and even my dad's relatives (my paternal grandmother, my aunts, cousins) and trying to get me on her side. She tried to make me feel guilty for spending time with my paternal grandma and aunts cause SM didn't like them. My dad should've especially never tolerated the badmouthing of his own relatives, but he did.

I do blame my dad cause he married someone who he allowed to control him instead of being a man.

And I don't resent my dad for being married. I adored his girlfriend before my stepmom and that girlfriend had kids from a previous marriage and I wanted Dad to marry that GF. She was kind and very sweet to me, and the kind of stepmother I wanted to have, but they broke up. The GF and my mom even got along. However my stepmother just wanted to pretend that my dad didn't have an exwife or daughter. So I complicated her perfect "nuclear family" fantasy.

I can see some people on here are very biased against stepkids. So just as I won't understand what its like to be a stepparent unless i ever am one, you'll never undestand what its like to be a stepkid unless you;ve been one.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:37PM
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As far as getting to know SM, yes that would be ideal if she weren't such a narcisist and negative person and causes me so much anxiety. I get nevous just being around her. There are some people that no matter how they are related to you, its just impossible to have a relationship with. Not saying I cut off contact, but she is someone I see when I see my dad for holidays and that will be the extent of our relationship. My dad has the same type of relationship with his stepdaughter. He sees her Thanksgiving and Christmas and thats about it. He hasn't a clue whats going on in her life.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Just because I'm curious, Rae, what kind of relationship and closeness does this SM have with her own biological daughter?

You made a comment above pertaining to Ssis --"She barely speaks to anyone"-- and you followed up in a later post --"Not saying I cut off contact, but she is someone I see when I see my dad for holidays and that will be the extent of our relationship. My dad has the same type of relationship with his stepdaughter. He sees her Thanksgiving and Christmas and thats about it. He hasn't a clue whats going on in her life."--

Are the mother and daughter themselves close? Did Ssis have a biofather in her life? If so, how was Ssis/Bio-dad's relationship and how did your SM interact and co-parent with Ssis's father? I'm aware you'd not have all the details, but surely you have some insight on this as you did visit in the girl's home EOW.

You mention Sm had early problems getting along with Dad's family ect--"SM didn't like them."-- I guess I'm just curious if ALL this lady's relationships with other people are difficult and perhaps if it really is a case of --"a narcisist and negative person"--.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Sorry Rae, I knew you may take what I said as cruel,I know you re young and would probably take it as such, but to me its just the reality of the situation...I m not really biased against Stepkids, I have 2 and I adore one and he loves me too. Its the other I have a problem with. The one that feels I control his dad, as you feel.Also, Dads relatives may have a problem with your SM because they like your mom and she had custody of the kids and they want to keep a relationship going, your SM may have felt excluded,left out, an outsider.Maybe she struck out at them because she was hurt.Again sorry if I hurt your feelings, but maybe you need a different perspective. Theres so much miscommunication between SMs and SKs, I sometimes wish I could sit down and talk to SS about our problems, but we are too far gone for that. But maybe you can, try and salvage the family relationship.I ve never been a SK, but my dad did date after my mom passed away. I just wanted him to be happy...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:30AM
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Stepsis's biofather wasn't in her life on a consistent basis. She'd see him maybe once or twice a year. However my SM would tell my dad's family that she had never met her father(they divorced when she was 2). Who knows why SM lied about that cause although stepsis never had to do every other weekend like I did she definitely knew who her father was and the truth eventually came out to Dad's family that stepsis did know who her father was. SM didn't coparent with her ex at all. Just pretended he didn't exist. One thing I do know is that SM wanted my Dad to adopt stepsis, and stepsis didn't want that. It caused huge arguments between SM and stepsis.

As far as relationship between SM and her daughter, I am really unsure. Since she moved out, I've heard that she rarely comes over. She lives in town as well. I know she has some kind of emotional issues or mental illness, but not sure what. SM treats stepsis like this deep dark secret to never be discussed. Nobody in the family is close to stepsis cause she NEVER attends any family function, not even my grandmother's funeral.

As far as my own family, they didn't really keep in contact with my mother so while I could be wrong, I doubt my SM felt they liked my mom over her cause my relatives never saw her except maybe once every few years. Although my aunts never cared for my SM(there were issues between them that had nothing to do with my mom), my grandmother adored my SM. I know she liked my SM over my mother. My mom was never accepted as part of the family even while married to my dad. I only saw my aunts, uncle, and cousins when I was with my dad when i was younger.

But it was just the courteous thing for my family to not badmouth my mom. I know my grandmother didn't like my mom, but I appreciate her not saying anything bad about her. Should my grandmother have had badmouthed my mother I doubt I would've had had as good of a relationship. It should not have anything to do with custody. I just think its basic manners to not badmouth someone's mother. Thats part of being an adult. If you badmouth someone's mom its the quickest way to guarantee you'll never have a good relationship with that person.

So while I can act friendly towards my SM there are some hurts that are impossible to completely get over to where I could ever allow SM into my heart.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:15PM
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