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Am I an evil stepmother?

Posted by Miss_Swan78 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 11:56

Sometimes I get depressed when my SS is due to come over but I try to keep thee feelings hidden from my DH so that he doesn't know the true extent of my anxiety. I have never really tried to tell DH how I feel because it is such a sensitive subject and I feel it will do more harm than good so I leave it be.

I'm not saying that I'm the perfect SM, in fact I think I'm horrible at it and it breaks my heart that I can't/don't love him like my own. I feel a lot of guilt because I love my husband and cannot be better to his first born child. I'm not sure when this all started but I've tried so hard when SS was younger to build a bond with him but he was always so difficult to talk to and more often than not, he would either ignore me completely when I spoke to him or grunt or mumble something under his breath. Even his own grandparents tell me that he's difficult to get along with and I often joke that the only two phrases that he ever says to me are "what's for dinner?" and "where's my dad?" but this is actually somewhat true and I definitely do not find it funny. It's so hurtful and irritating at the same time. My DH makes excuses for him and says that it's just his personality and that this is always the way he's been even with others but I can't help but take it personally because I am human. So after awhile I just stopped talking to SS, no longer put in any effort and gave up all together. I don't know if this is the best way to handle the situation but I figure this must be better than blowing up at my SS and saying something really hurtful just for my peace of mind...

I think SS has alot of insecurities due to his parents divorcing at such a young age. Also being an only child for most of his life he was/is always competing with me for DH's attention. Being a selfish person myself, I admittedly felt left out especially at the beginning of our relationship probably because I expected more from DH during our "honeymoon stage". I was often withdrawn because I was dealing with my own insecurities about having a step child (marrying a divorcee is frowned upon in my culture and marrying one with a child is a complete taboo). So I cried alot in private, partly because I felt ashamed for feeling this way but mostly because I was hurt (or maybe I was just wallowing in self pity). Meanwhile, I'm sure DH was trying to deal with his own guilt for becoming a part-time dad to SS and trying to make up for his absence whenever he could. Since they have a 50/50 custody and living arrangement, DH is always trying to squeeze in as much as he can during his "half time" with SS while trying to balance his "other" family (us) which now includes two babies who require a lot of time and attention simply because they are too young to care for themselves. DH is stretched so thin, sometimes I wonder how he holds it together. To make matters worse, SS is emotionally and physically demanding (he has a part time job and doesn't drive yet and is driven to school almost every day by my DH even though it's in walking distance from his mother's) and requires constant reassurance from DH about anything and everything. DH does so much for him (so much more than his BM in my opinion) almost to the point where I feel our babies get shortchanged a bit (and I don't mean financially here). I think all of these issues have snowballed which caused me to resent my SS even though when these feelings began, SS was only a child (he was eight when we first got together). I was never great with kids (even with my own nephews), always felt awkward with them and knowing what I know now have held them to unrealistic standards and expectations. Having my own kids have given me a different perspective and looking back I now realize that the situation we were in was probably ten times worse for SS since he didn't get to "choose" to be in that situation like we did. If I could do it over, I'm not so sure I would make the same decisions. I love my DH with all my heart but the reality is his son is "part of the package" and therefore I would have to walk away not just for my well being but for everyone involved.

When you are forced to be in a relationship with a child/teenager day in and day out and you feel like you have no say, no control, no right to discipline them as a 'parent' (I'm often reminded that I'm NOT the parent -albeit indirectly and unintentionally), the frustration and pain can be overwhelming. Perhaps if I could yell at him or say what's truly on my mind whenever I wanted like DH does with him, I wouldn't have all this anger. Despite how I may feel about him, I still want him to turn out to be a decent person, have good manners, respect his elders and contribute to society etc etc. but when I do say something to him, it falls on deaf ears anyways. He is not a bad person or is malicious in any way but is extremely lazy and spoiled (he doesn't lift a finger at home and has no responsibilities other than cleaning his own room which he barely does and rarely without a fight) so I can't help but feel like a maid/cook to both him and DH except I don't get paid or get even a simple "thank you" in return. He's 16 now and in my opinion he's old enough to do some simple chores around the house but his answers to everything we ask him to do is "I don't know how to do that" and rather than fight about it, I just roll my eyes behind his back and move on (I didn't realize you needed special skills to take out the trash!) The first time I asked him to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher, he complained to DH and his BM that he didn't have to do any chores at his mother's and that he didn't want to come over here anymore! Luckily, DH isn't fooled by his manipulation so he didn't get very far with this nonsense but this simple ask ended up being a huge blow out between DH and his ex and numerous hours spent on trying to reason with SS about the situation. When i was 8 months pregnant, he sat there and watched me bring in bag after bag full of groceries and didn't even offer to help. Just last week I asked him to help me shovel the driveway just so that DH wouldn't have to do it after a long day at work and he refused. By no means am I a pushover but how can I make a grown young man who is physically bigger than me do something that he doesn't want to do? So I went outside and shoveled all by myself which took me nearly an hour while he sat inside playing video games for hours on end. I have to admit, I do the bare minimum for my SS and know that I probably don't have the right to complain but this is intentional (he is almost an adult and he needs to learn some responsibilities and because I just don't have the desire to do anything for him due to the reasons stated above) but maybe this is also my way of being passive-aggressive. Again, I feel horrible about this and wish I can be more nurturing towards him. Being a parent myself now, I realize it's a thankless job but the fact of the matter is, he's not my child and I feel it's his biological parents' responsibility to teach him basic manners. I don't expect alot especially because I don't do a lot for him but a simple thank you every once in awhile would suffice. I know we are in a fortunate situation financially where we have the means to spoil our children but I really worry that my SS will never learn to be independent or appreciate anything in life. My income is a significant contribution to this household as well and when DH makes sacrifices to provide the extras for his son, I am also making the same sacrifices since we have combined our finances. But I am never thanked or appreciated or even acknowledged...

It's quite unfortunate but I find him to be rude, moody, extremely negative and pessimistic. He interrupts all the time and contradicts or points out the opposite view on EVERYTHING people say. He has to state the opposite opinion on even the most insignificant and trivial stuff that I say in passing to my husband that has nothing to do with him whatsoever or that he knows nothing about. This also annoys DH to no end and he's had several talks with him about this behavior but he just says that he can't help it and continues to do it. I have learned to just ignore this over the years but I can feel the frustration building inside me. I could go on and on with other examples but I'm not sure what the point would be. Am I trying to make excuses for myself by justifying how I've been feeling? Probably, so I will just move on.

Years of feeling this way has built up a lot of anger and bitterness inside me and I feel like such an ugly person for it. I look back at pictures of SS when he was younger and I didn't realize it at the time but he was only a child! I should have been the mature one and acted like the adult that I was. I truly hope he isn't aware of all the resentment and anger I felt towards him and if he is aware, I hope I didn't scar him for life for the way I mistreated him. I hope some day he can forgive me and understand that none of this was his fault.

I read something in a similar thread that I agree with which said that 95% of the situation is what I make of it, and the other 5% is totally out of my control, so I want to make a conscious effort to see the positive side and improve my situation. I love my husband and our kids too much to leave this marriage and I genuinely want all if us to be happy as a blended family.

Just gathering my thoughts and writing them down here has already helped me lift a huge burden off my shoulders but if anyone has any other insight, advice or recommendations that may help us, they are welcome. TIA.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Am I an evil stepmother?

Not you are not an evil stepmother, you are just a stepmother. Don't feel guilty about you feelings, they are what they are, and you just have to accept them. But, I agree, it's best not to talk with you husband about your true feelings. Call up a friend and vent, or post on here, but be aware that non stepmothers really have a hard time relating. You have to be there.

Your SS sounds a lot like mine. Sure, you want him to be a decent person, but unfortunately you don't have much control over that. Your husband and his ex-wife are responsible for making your SS who he is. Let go of trying to make or wishing him to be a better person. You'll only get more frustrated. I would highly recommend that you detach as much as possible from the situation. Realize that a lot of your feelings are misplaced--don't hate the kid, hate the parenting.

But I also want to warn you that playing hours and hours of video games can make kids extremely hostile and anti-social, and keep them from maturing. Please do some research on video gaming addiction for more information. It seems to be a common way for boys to handle divorce situations and drown out their feelings. I'd recommend that you limit the hours of gaming, but your husband will have to be on board and enforce that, because SS will truly hate you if you attempt to do that.

Best of luck and I hope you can learn to balance your love for husband and kids with a healthy detachment.


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RE: Am I an evil stepmother?

After years of 'trying' the only thing that keeps me sane and in fact has helped me in my relationship with my boyfriends children is detaching and expecting nothing. It's one step forward and one back mostly and I accept that now and just concentrate on my boyfriend and my own kids. And being able to talk on here and other forums has helped loads, because my partner does not understand at all, so it is pointless talking to him, sadly.


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RE: Am I an evil stepmother?

TIA,
It's true about a situation being 95% of what we make of it and that's why I suggest you make the situation 95% to suit you! Stop trying to please SS! He does not want to be pleased & he will never like you. He's all about punishing you. Your the adult so take charge. Since SS is treating your home like an hotel and treating you worse than a slave servant.
Tell your H the situation is causing unhappiness for you all & ask him to accommodate & visit with his son separately.
or
Hire a full time cleaning woman when SS is by you & have her also order takeout for him. She's to do only cleaning & takeout meal ordering. Absolutely NO cooking. No exceptions!
Totally ignore SS.

If none of the above is an option for you, I suggest you STOP catering to SS whims & STOP cleaning up after SS. Leave the mess as is and totally ignore him.
If H complains about the mess. Offer to call in a cleaning woman to clean up the mess. Absolutely refuse to clean & or do anything for for SS. SS has made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that he does not want to be part of you & H's family.
You can also tell H that while you understand that by marrying H, SS is part of the "package", BUT being mistreated & disrespected is NOT part of the "package"!

Hopefully this helps. If not, you may have to walk away, because when a husband refuses to protect his own wife from mistreatment & or abuse, this sort of thing doesn't improve it just gets worse & WORSE!


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RE: Am I an evil stepmother?

I think you need to explain to your Husband how you feel. But do it in a way that does not make him feel like he has to defend himself or his son. Explain that you feel you cannot connect with the son and that you feel uncomfortable and disrespected. Try going to see a therapist. There are also CDs you can listen to called avoiding power struggles with kids or something like that which might give you useful tips on how to effectively communicate with him. The thing is, teens are stubborn and full of anger. He may never open up and ignoring him will not make you feel better about the situation. He is the way he is because of his parents, it's not his fault. He deserves love from you even if he's stubborn about showing it. I think you need to toughen up and speak with him in a direct tone, talk to your husband about consequences. Stop spoiling him, if he wants money or games, he needs to earn it. Find a way to turn this into a positive situation. You can't give up on him. You are not his mother but you do have a huge impact on his life. Being a strong and dependable person is midst important for him. He will grow up to appreciate you when he's older.
I am in a similar boat except my boyfriend's son is 8 and we have a baby. I try to bond but it's so hard! I'm learning how to talk to him in ways that don't make him hate me but also teach him responsibility.


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RE: Am I an evil stepmother?

Also, I know how you feel about the depression and anxiety when the son comes over. I have the same. I feel like I don't have the authority to be making consequences when he doesn't behave properly and I don't agree with his father's parenting so I get anxiety because the while atmosphere changes when he comes home. I wouldn't dare tell my boyfriend that but it's hard to just be calm when the son is around.


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